Saints set for at least three changes - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints set for at least three changes

By Guy Hand and Roger Vaughan 18/04/2011 05:33:30 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda's weakest links can expect to pay the price for their underperforming side's dreadful start to the AFL season.

Coach Ross Lyon suggested several fringe players were under pressure to retain their spots ahead of Thursday night's clash with fellow strugglers Brisbane at the Gabba.

Raphael Clarke, Ryan Gamble and Brett Peake all played for VFL affiliates Sandringham last Sunday after they were among the poorer performers in the Saints team that lost badly to Essendon in round three.

Given there is only a four-day break before the Lions match, they are highly unlikely to make the 22.

"I think you could read they're under pressure," Lyon said on Monday.

"We didn't enjoy round three, that hasn't happened to us for a long time.

"Our real philosophy is going to be playing players who have a real crack and are prepared to give their best effort.

"So birth certificates are out the window, we're about an effort and growth mindset.

"We're going to pick players who have a crack and represent our members as expected."

Lyon has flagged youngster Nick Winmar will make his AFL debut, while Justin Koschitzke will make a welcome return to take some of the pressure off skipper Nick Riewoldt around goal.

Off-season ankle surgery means Koschitzke has only played once this year, a VFL game two weekends ago.

Lyon was shattered after the loss to Essendon, speculating publicly the team could be in a state of full transition.

Last season's grand finalists have just a draw from their opening three matches, and mercifully had the bye last weekend to regroup.

While Lyon continues to talk tough, he is pleased by how the Saints have reacted to their winless start.

And he believes the Saints don't necessarily have to fall apart completely in order to regenerate after being regular finalists since 2004.

"I don't necessarily agree you have to bottom right out.

"I think you can blend the two (rebuilding and being competitive) together and there are certainly a few clubs in the competition who have proven that.

"We're quite confident we can get up and about.

"It's very premature to be giving away a season at round three, particularly with the capacities we have.

"Certainly the response from the player group has been fantastic - we're under no illusions, we have a bit of work to do."

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