Saints coach backs Sam Gilbert - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints coach backs Sam Gilbert

Guy Hand 24/04/2011 03:37:15 PM Comments (0)

Embattled St Kilda defender Sam Gilbert has the full backing of coach Ross Lyon to emerge from his AFL form slump soon.

Gilbert was one of the central players in St Kilda's so-called "schoolgirl scandal" which engulfed the club in the off-season.

He has struggled to make a positive on-field impact this season, turning in another error-riddled performance in the Saints' ungainly 13-point win over Brisbane on Thursday.

The nadir was Gilbert slamming the ball into the Gabba turf in frustration after being penalised for running too far with the ball in the first quarter.

That brain-snap gifted the Lions a 50-metre penalty.

But Lyon said Gilbert was too good not to bounce back to form soon, and highlighted the 24-year-old's last quarter against the Lions as proof he would soon turn the corner.

"I thought in the last quarter he really stood up - he's incredibly mentally tough, Sam," Lyon told the Nine Network's Sunday Footy Show.

"When you're having lies told about you, it certainly can distract you. But his preparation's been really good, he's as fit as he's ever been.

"I think it's a slow burn into good form for Sam. He's an important part of our team."

While Gilbert would appear safe as the Saints struggle for anything like their 2008 and 2009 grand final form, Lyon said the club may look to tinker with the side further against Adelaide on Saturday.

"We're keen to keep turning some youth over and injecting some of that into the team," he said.

Lyon named key position prospects Will Johnson, Tom Lynch and Arryn Siposs as players who may get their opportunities in coming weeks.

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