Thomas is AFL's biggest star: Saints coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Thomas is AFL's biggest star: Saints coach

Greg Buckle 30/05/2011 12:54:04 PM Comments (0)

Chris Judd is the Brownlow medal favourite but according to St Kilda coach Ross Lyon, right now Dale Thomas is the AFL's best player.

While Carlton skipper Judd has been widely praised for his inspirational efforts in midfield during the first 10 rounds, Thomas blitzed West Coast on Sunday with a 30-possession game to lead Collingwood to a 52-point win.

The 11th-placed Saints take on Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday night in a grand final re-match and Lyon says he's in awe of 23-year-old midfielder Thomas.

Lyon went along to the MCG on Sunday with assistant coach Robert Harvey.

"I turned to Robert Harvey and I said `geez he is the best player in the competition at the moment'," Lyon said on Monday.

"He has been outstanding.

"Everyone has talked about (Brendon) Goddard's finals.

"But what Thomas did in the finals and the grand finals, what he does without the ball, against Adelaide (in round nine), he turned that team around with his fanatical chasing.

"He covers that much territory. He's unbelievable. I really admire him.

"Not only what he can do with the ball, you saw his left-foot snap (against West Coast).

"But he'll run from the forward pocket to the back pocket to spoil the ball and get in the way.

"He chases down, he's really inspirational to watch."

Thomas was third in Collingwood's best and fairest behind Dane Swan and Scott Pendlebury in 2010 and Lyon faces a difficult task to keep their star-studded midfield quiet.

St Kilda have registered only three victories and a draw from nine games but have strung two wins together over Melbourne and Fremantle.

"Certainly we've improved," Lyon told SEN Radio.

"We have more consistency and greater effort over long periods of the game.

"In a lot of ways West Coast were outstanding. They're still an emerging team.

"What Collingwood have got is class all over the paddock.

"You make a half-mistake and great teams make you pay and they've got that capacity."

Lyon described the Saints as a different team to last year, pointing to the batch of inexperienced players in the current lineup including Tom Lynch, Nick Winmar, Arryn Siposs, Jack Steven and David Armitage.

"It's going to be a great challenge for them. They get an opportunity play the best team in the competition," Lyon said.

The Saints are confident Goddard (neck) and Sean Dempster (concussion) would be fit to play against Collingwood.

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