Saints aim to win without Lenny - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints aim to win without Lenny

Roger Vaughan 09/04/2011 12:43:29 PM Comments (0)

After "Saints Footy" and "The Bubble", perhaps St Kilda's AFL mantra this year could become "What Would Lenny do?"

The Saints start showing how they cope without Lenny Hayes, one of their most important players, on Sunday when they play bogey side Essendon in the match of the round at Etihad Stadium.

Hayes is out for the rest of the season with a knee reconstruction, suffered in the round-two draw with Richmond.

St Kilda suffered a similar blow early last season when captain Nick Riewoldt needed hamstring surgery.

Back then, Hayes added even more lustre to his stellar reputation by leading the team superbly in Riewoldt's absence.

Key defender Sam Fisher agreed that the Saints should follow Hayes' hard-working, selfless example as they try to cover his absence.

"It's not only that time (last season), it's the way Lenny goes about it week in, week out," Fisher said.

"Everyone admires the way he goes about his footy, the effort he gives.

"If you're ever in doubt, I suppose you can look to see what Lenny would do in that sort of situation and try to model yourself on him.

"If everyone did that, I'm sure we'd be in a pretty healthy spot."

The team have coined their fierce playing style Saints Footy, while The Bubble became a theme last year as they stayed focussed on success despite a succession of setbacks on and off the field.

After making the last two grand finals, their form has been inconsistent in the one-point loss to Geelong and last week's draw.

Now Riewoldt's 200th senior game comes against the Bombers, who have won their last three premiership clashes with the Saints.

Essendon also drew with St Kilda and then beat them in the pre-season.

"Obviously Nick has been a fantastic leader and contributor to St Kilda, he's such a superstar of the game," Fisher said.

"It's an important game for him and important for the team - but more importantly, we haven't won yet.

"We just need to getback to playing the footy that we know that we can, that's probably the more important part, we get back to playing some Saints footy."

While the Saints will have their plans for Essendon's pace and improved defensive play, Fisher said the focus this week is on their own game.

"Until we get ourselves right, which we haven't done consistently over the first two games, then it doesn't really matter what they do," Fisher said of Essendon.

"We need to get that back up to, if not further, than what we've had."

St Kilda made four changes for the game - apart from losing Hayes and Steven Baker (foot), they also dropped Jason Blake and Daniel Archer.

Into the side come Jack Steven, Rhys Stanley, Adam Schneider and Alistair Smith.

Essendon lost David Myers with a hand injury and brought back Angus Monfries.

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