ST KILDA coach Scott Watters says defender Sam Fisher has responded to questions about his off-field lifestyle in the best possible manner.
Fairfax Media reported in November that Fisher's behaviour had become a major issue, although the Saints denied knowledge of any serious problems.
Watters said Fisher, arguably the club’s most important player, had been ‘‘quite stunned’’ by the report and had responded by training well during the Colorado training camp and back at the Saints’ home in Seaford.
‘‘We had a conversation about that and his reaction was to train really well,’’ Watters said.
‘‘His leadership responsibilities, he has taken very, very seriously, probably from the first day in Colorado.
‘‘He made some pretty big statements from a training perspective, just in the way he was leading some of the younger players.
‘‘He just made a choice to deliver on his actions. There was no doubt he was pretty upset with some of the comments which he believes were completely unfounded.’’
Watters said the Saints had so far enjoyed a prosperous pre-season, although youngster Daniel Markworth is likely to miss most of the year after having a knee reconstruction.
‘‘We are really pleased where we sit from a health perspective. We have a couple of senior players who have been on modified programs, Sam Fisher, Sean Dempster and Steven Milne who are now just coming back into full training, but outside of those guys we have been pretty fortunate,’’ Watters said on SEN.
One player no longer at the club is defender Jason Gram, who was axed after having failed to comply with conditions concerning his behaviour after the breakdown of a personal relationship. He still had a year remaining on his contract.
‘‘I would have liked Jason to still be here but like any player you need to be able to fit in with the requirements of the team and there were a few challenges Grammy was unable to meet,’’ Watters said.
‘‘So we had to part ways.’’
The Saints open their NAB Cup campaign with round-robin matches against Adelaide and Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium on February 17.