Date: May 06 2012
ST KILDA'S 35-point loss to Hawthorn last night was compounded by two significant injuries, with ruckman Ben McEvoy withdrawing before the game with a knee injury and defender Sam Fisher set to miss a few weeks with a hamstring injury.
Saints coach Scott Watters, who felt his young side let some opportunities slip after being within two goals at three-quarter-time, also challenged midfielder Nick Dal Santo to work through the close attention he has been receiving in recent weeks, with Jordan Lewis restricting him to 14 possessions.
''You know what? Good players need to take that challenge head-on. Yes, you need support from your teammates. Yes, you can play different roles, but ultimately, that's got to light a fire inside Nick, because otherwise you become an easy target,'' Watters said.
''He needs to work through that. He's a proud individual. He'll be disappointed in the result tonight. He'll address it during the week and he'll address it accordingly. He's a pretty proud performer.''
The Saints expect McEvoy, who was injured at training during the week and will have surgery to remove loose cartilage from his knee tomorrow, to miss between four and six games, while Fisher was subbed after half-time, allowing Ahmed Saad to make his debut.
Cyril Rioli kicked six goals at the end of a difficult week in which his uncle passed away, while Lance Franklin finished with 5.6 in another crucial performance for the Hawks, who were determined to play well after a poor second half against Sydney last weekend.
Luke Hodge finished the match with ice strapped around his left knee, while defender Ben Stratton was able to return to the field after a nasty head clash with Saint David Armitage. The Saints opted to pull Jamie Cripps and Beau Wilkes from the side, with late inclusion Justin Koschitzke scoring five goals.
''We'll assess [Fisher] over the next day or two, but it is a hamstring. Benny Mac is looking at four to six weeks with a knee, so it will provide some opportunity for other players to come through,'' Watters said.
Rioli said he had been motivated by the loss to the Swans as well as his uncle, Sibby, who died of a heart attack on Thursday.
''It was shattering. I found out the news on Thursday … I've got a bit of family down here so we stuck around home and it was sad at first, then we told some good stories about him and it made the day a little bit easier,'' he said.
''Coming into this week's game, I got a bit of motivation from that and from the performance last week. I was happy with my game tonight and I enjoyed it. I've been a bit down on myself, I know I can get a lot better, so to kick six tonight, I was pretty happy with that.''
Hawthorn coach Alistair Clarkson was pleased with how his side hung in the game, which was tight for most of the night, before prising it open in the final term. ''We've copped a bit of a whack throughout the week, and rightly so,'' he said. ''We don't hide away from that, we deserve what came our way in the press this week and we're a lot better than that - as a football side and a footy club.
''We're pleased we were able to respond. The game was right in the balance at three-quarter-time and our guys responded really positively in the final quarter and managed to get away with a really solid victory in the end.''
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