Saints' Lyon buoyed by Gilbert, Kosi - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints' Lyon buoyed by Gilbert, Kosi

Sam Lienert 10/05/2011 04:26:59 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon says Sam Gilbert has shown encouraging signs of form and Justin Koschitzke is also showing glimpses he is rebounding from an injury-blighted AFL season.

Gilbert's slow start to the season has been among numerous concerns for the Saints, with the grand finalists of the past two years currently languishing in 14th spot.

Of the top four in the club's best and fairest count last season, only Leigh Montagna has been in solid form, with Lenny Hayes out for the season with a knee injury and Gilbert and Brendon Goddard being well off their best.

But while Goddard was soundly beaten by Carlton's Bryce Gibbs on Monday night, Gilbert adapted well to the unusual role of starting the game opposed to Carlton's superstar midfielder Chris Judd.

He restricted Judd's influence early and Lyon believes that challenge helped spark him when he was moved into a more customary defensive role later in the game.

"We were trying to give him a simple focus and I thought what better player, what better way to get a focus than to play on a great midfielder," Lyon said.

"Sam's really tough and competes and really quick early and I thought that helped change the dynamic of our midfield in there."

He said Gilbert had to move when the Blues' attack got on top, but did well down back.

"Sam continued to improve as the night went on, I thought there were some really good signs for Sam Gilbert and Sam Fisher in our back six."

Lyon was also pleased with much-maligned key forward Koschitzke, who mixed stints in ruck and attack for seven marks and two goals, in just his second game of the year, after ankle problems throughout the pre-season and early in the season proper.

"He'll keep preparing really well and keep getting more minutes," Lyon said.

"He's had a really interrupted summer, he's had a wound that didn't heal, he had an infection, then he had a bit of a clot, so Justin's played two games of footy.

"I just thoughtyou saw his incredible competitive spirit shine through."

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