Saints coach confident march isn't over - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints coach confident march isn't over

Guy Hand 13/08/2011 11:51:16 AM Comments (0)

Rather than be dispirited by Collingwood again proving too strong, St Kilda coach Ross Lyon is adamant his team have proven their finals credentials in a 19-point loss to the AFL premiers.

The Saints pushed the Magpies in the first half, were outmuscled in the third term, then finished with a flurry in a 14.5 (89) to 10.10 (70) loss on Friday night at Etihad Stadium.

St Kilda have now failed to beat Collingwood in last year's drawn grand final, the grand final replay, and two home-and-away matches in 2011.

But the Saints' performance was a marked improvement on a 57-point beating in round 11 as they were slumping, and Lyon believes the latest performance shows how far they've come since a nightmarish early season.

"They are the benchmark team, so coming here I think everybody was looking to see how we'd go, " Lyon said.

"We know we've improved. We know our systems and structures stand up.

"We know we've got enough talent if we want to work together to go away from here and challenge whoever we come up against."

While the win keeps the Magpies top of the ladder, the Saints are now plunged back into a fight to make the top eight at season's end.

Yet they seem far better placed than most to make the eight, and a clash with Sydney next weekend at ANZ Stadium looms as pivotal to both teams' hopes of playing finals football.

"We've got some tough games, but everything in our armoury to come at the teams that lay in front of us if we want to," Lyon said.

"We know we still need to win to make the finals here. It's not about gallant efforts and losses."

The Magpies led by 19 points at quarter-time, booting four goals in a row to end the term and looking on the way to winning as they liked.

But the Saints twice closed to within a point of the premiers during a solid second term, and trailed by just 13 points at the long break.

The Magpies broke open the match in the third term and early in the fourth, but Lyon was pleased with how his team finished the match.

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