Saints, Cats face big challenges - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints, Cats face big challenges

By Roger Vaughan 05/04/2011 08:11:01 PM Comments (0)

AFL top-four mainstays St Kilda and Geelong have declared that after a heart-stopping start to the season, it's time to flex their muscles.

While the Saints are yet to win and the Cats are unbeaten after two rounds, what they have in common is a growing perception outside their clubs that a challenging season might lie ahead.

After Geelong beat St Kilda by a point in a torrid round-one match, the Saints drew with Richmond and the Cats scored a gutsy 11-point win over Fremantle last weekend.

St Kilda have also lost inspirational midfielder Lenny Hayes for the rest of the season with a knee reconstruction and their next opponents are Essendon, who have become a bogey side.

The Bombers have won their last three premiership games against St Kilda, plus a draw and another win in this year's pre-season competition.

"We haven't been as hard as we've been, there's no doubt about that," said Saints coach Ross Lyon.

"They (Essendon) have come out hunting us a fair bit, but I think we're in a position where we're no longer the hunted.

"We're going to start doing some hunting."

The Saints are coming off two grand final losses, while Geelong played in three grand finals for two flags before last year's big preliminary final loss to Collingwood.

Geelong have an ageing list and coach Chris Scott said the 2-0 start to the season had proved nothing, adding the Cats had to prove the doubters wrong.

"The challenge that we have in front of us isn't any lesser because we've been fortunate in many ways to have won the first two games," Scott said.

"The challenges are very much still there.

"The facts are there for everyone to see.

"The issues that the people have raised are real, we don't hide from them, it's all objective data.

"Our challenge is to make sure we rise above it."

St Kilda's Adam Schneider will return from suspension and come in for Hayes against Essendon.

Lyon admits he is tempted to recall ruckman Justin Koschitzke, who has recovered from an ankle injury, but added the new substitute rule complicated the issue.

Koschitzke is yet to play at any level this year.

"He's pretty important to structure, he gives great support to Nick (Riewoldt) and I think people are starting to see how valuable he was last year in his position," Lyon said.

Geelong have played several youngsters already this season and they will be under pressure to retain their spots as some big guns look likely to return for Sunday's home game against Port Adelaide.

Matthew Scarlett is a certain recall, while Joel Selwood and Cameron Mooney could also be available.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news