Saints go right way at crossroad: Lyon - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints go right way at crossroad: Lyon

Sam Lienert 17/07/2011 12:02:54 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon has recalled one of Allan Jeans' famous inspirational phrases to sum up the importance of the Saints' fighting AFL victory over West Coast.

Lyon said the Saints had set out to honour Jeans - the Saints' only premiership coach, as well as a three-time premiership coach at Hawthorn - who died last week, with their performance in Saturday night's 13.4 (82) to 9.7(61) win over West Coast at Etihad Stadium.

"We spoke about it as a playing group, giving great effort, just to honour the occasion of Allan's passing. He was the greatest leader in St Kilda's history," Lyon said.

The Saints needed to show plenty of fight.

They kicked the first seven goals to lead by as much as 43 points early in the second quarter.

But the Eagles dominated the game's middle stages, kicking eight of the next nine goals to move two points ahead at three-quarter time.

Lyon, who played footage of Jeans to his players pre-game, said the club's position entering the final change reflected one of Jeans' memorable lines, a team at a crossroad, who could either "step up or step down".

"Certainly we were at a crossroad at three-quarter time and it was important we responded," Lyon said.

They hit the lead early in the final quarter, before a brilliant snap from West Coast's Nic Naitanui regained the lead for the Eagles midway through the term.

But it was St Kilda who held firm under pressure, kicking the last four goals, including three in time-on, to seal victory.

It was their sixth win in eight matches, keeping them within striking distance of the top eight.

"It certainly displayed a strong will power to compete and not give up, so we certainly take a fair bit out of that," Lyon said.

St Kilda's one major blow was a knee injury to defender James Gwilt, with scans expected to confirm he has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament.

The Eagles' loss stopped them moving into the top four, but despite that disappointment, coach John Worsfold took heart from his team's spirited fightback.

"I thought it was an outstanding effort.

"We've had games like that in the past two years that we might have lost by 80 to 100 points, but again it shows how far this group's come."

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