Saints rule out Koschitzke until after bye - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints rule out Koschitzke until after bye

Roger Vaughan 08/03/2011 06:43:25 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda will have depleted ruck options for at least the opening month of the AFL regular season.

A week after Michael Gardiner went on the long-term injury list, they have confirmed Justin Koschitzke will not play senior football until after their round-four bye.

It is understood neither player has suffered a setback in his comeback from injury, but the Saints now have a clearer idea of their returns.

St Kilda had been hopeful the pair might be ready by round three.

Gardiner needed off-season surgery for a knee injury and Koschitzke suffered complications after an ankle operation.

Speaking on the club's website, fitness coach Dave Misson said Koschitzke might play in the VFL before the bye.

He also explained the rationale behind putting Gardiner on the long-term list, which rules him out until the round five away game against Brisbane.

"We probably just wanted to give ourselves a bit of flexibility with regard to whether we need to elevate someone for the first few rounds," Misson said.

"That way, we don't need to rush `Gardy' either.

"We know he has eight weeks and he's probably going to need that long anyway.

"We just thought it would be an opportunity to give ourselves some flexibility with the list."

The Saints rested young ruckman Ben McEvoy for last week's pre-season cup semi-final against Essendon and they were exposed at the clearances.

But Rhys Stanley, who was suspended in February for off-field misbehaviour, should be available to back up McEvoy until Koschitzke and Gardiner can return.

Misson also confirmed that star defender Sam Fisher would be ready for round one.

Fisher suffered a blow to the face early in the Essendon loss and will miss Saturday night's pre-season game against Sydney in Coffs Harbour.

"He's going well, he has a sore jaw basically, it's no break or anything like that," Misson said.

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