Gilbert says dramas not affecting AFL form - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gilbert says dramas not affecting AFL form

By Roger Vaughan 25/08/2011 08:15:15 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda defender Sam Gilbert has dismissed any suggestion that his off-field troubles last summer have impacted on his AFL form.

Two naked photos of team-mates were taken from Gilbert's laptop computer and posted on the internet late last year.

Gilbert publicly apologised for his role in the scandal.

He admits his form this season has not been at its peak, but said that was purely a football matter.

"Once you get out there, it (off-field issues) doesn't affect you," he said.

"Once I'm out there training and playing, everything goes away from my mind and I'm focussing just on the football.

"I can't put my finger on one thing, I've been trying my best to get my consistency back and it is coming back slowly but surely."

Gilbert was supposed to an X-factor for St Kilda this season, with coach Ross Lyon keen to play him more as a tall forward.

He was thrown forward to good effect in last year's two grand finals.

But after the Saints experimented with Gilbert in attack earlier this year, he has reverted to his usual role as a key defender.

"I think it's a balance of forward and defence," he said.

"At the moment I'm in defence and that is where Ross sees me as playing best for the team, so I look forward to playing that role."

Gilbert also brushed aside speculation earlier this week that Melbourne might be trying to poach Lyon from St Kilda.

"When we do read something like that we can use it as fuel to motivate and not really worry about it," he said.

Also on Thursday, assistant coach Adam Kingsley said captain Nick Riewoldt was not unduly hampered by his left knee.

Riewoldt is another Saints player who has not been in peak form for much of this year and his left knee was strapped heavily in last weekend's loss to Sydney.

"Nick's fine, he's been training - contrary to some reports, he's been doing all the full training," Kingsley said.

"His knee, although it's not like what it was when he was 21, it's still fine and gives him no pain.

"He's still in pretty good shape."

Kingsley, St Kilda's forward coach, also defended Riewoldt's performance this season.

"With his form, I'm not sure it's that bad," he said.

"He's not playing the best footy of his career, that's for sure, but he's still been reasonably good for us and he's still playing a really important role.

"Some opportunities, we're not giving him and we could perhaps be doing that a little bit better, with our forward-50 entry.

"I'm not sure it's all doom and gloom for him."

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