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2006 Round 12 - Home and away Games
Pre Game Articles - St Kilda Saints vs Adelaide Crows

St Kilda vs. Adelaide
Telstra Dome Friday 16th June 2006, 7:40pm
Umpires: Vozzo, Meredith, McInerney
TAB Sportsbet: St Kilda $2.30 Adelaide $1.57
Centrebet: St Kilda $2.40 Adelaide $1.57
IN: X.Clarke, McQualter - R.Clarke, Gwilt in VFL
OUT: Blake (hamstring), McGough

Two changes for Crows clash
St Kilda has made two team changes ahead of its clash against Adelaide at Telstra Dome on Friday night. Xavier Clarke has impressed on the training track in the past fortnight and comes back into the side after six weeks out with a hip injury, while Andrew McQualter has been recalled for his fifth game of the season. Out of the side that overcame the Swans by two points last week are Jason Blake with a hamstring strain and Mark McGough who was omitted. Emergencies for the Saints are Sam Gilbert, Allan Murray and Justin Sweeney.
Teams & Article

Saints fans to raise hell
Thomas wants the Crows to experience the hostile atmosphere that visiting teams encounter at AAMI Stadium in Adelaide. "They are coming to our home, it's our office, our house, in our house it's our rules," Thomas said last night. "We have to give them the same sort of treatment and I expect our supporters to give them the same sort of treatment as our team gets whenever we go to South Australia or Western Australia. We want to make it our cauldron. We play very well at Telstra and it's our house. We haven't invited them, so we don't expect to give them a good time. We want to try and make it as intimidatory an environment as we can."
The Article Jon Pierik/HeraldSun/16Jun06

"The last four or five weeks we have been a much stingier unit and haven't given much away, If you look at the stats, we are up there in terms of defences in the league. We are just building on that each week. We have held teams below 10 goals two weeks in a row and that does great things for your confidence when you know you can do that." Leigh Fisher

Fisher defender of the Saints' faith
. . . A month into Fisher's second coming as an AFL player, it appears that day has arrived. St Kilda might have fallen out of favour with bookmakers and pundits for this year's premiership but the Saints have reshaped the way they go about winning football games. Long admired as the most attacking, high-scoring team in the competition, St Kilda can now boast one of the most miserly defences. Only Adelaide, the best defensive team in the AFL, has been harder to score against this season. Not by coincidence, Fisher has emerged as a key figure within a fresh-faced-back six.
The Article Chip Le Grand/TheAustralian/16Jun06

Saints throw their catch back
. . . So important that Grant Thomas and his brains trust sent Fisher to play on Ryan O'Keefe, the man who torched the Saints in last year's preliminary final, in last Saturday night's rematch in Sydney. He plays on talls, with Brendan Fevola and Russell Robertson among his opponents this year. He also plays on smalls, for he minded Matthew Robbins when the Saints met the Bulldogs. He might even get Ricciuto, the riverland's finest, if the Crows' captain drifts forward tonight, as is his wont nowadays.
The Article Martin Blake/TheAge/16Jun06

Milne, Riewoldt and Fiora need to step up - fast
. . . The Saints' game plan is built around being stronger than the opposition physically and mentally. The harder the game the better they play . . . The Crows are the hardest running side in 2006 and I suspect Neil Craig will instruct his men to run and carry the ball into open spaces tonight. He'll want his players to clear the stoppages quickly and get the ball to carriers like McLeod, Johncock, Brett Burton or Simon Goodwin. The Saints would prefer a game of one-on-one football, but they're not going to get it. If they don't dominate the stoppages they'll be run ragged by a much quicker side.
The Article Wayne Schwass/HeraldSun/16Jun06

Saints regain Clarke but lose ruckman Blake to injury
St Kilda has rushed Xavier Clarke back into its team for tonight's Telstra Dome clash against Adelaide, but lost yet another player to injury when ruckman Jason Blake strained a hamstring. Clarke, earmarked pre-season to assume the key role of defensive linkman after the retirement of Aussie Jones, has missed six games after having arthroscopic surgery on a hip injury diagnosed after the match against Fremantle in Launceston on April 30. He was originally set to return in round 14, but St Kilda assistant coach Matt Rendell said yesterday the exciting youngster's training track form had forced selectors' hands. "He's been out best trainer for the last two weeks," Rendell said. "He's certainly looked the part. It's whether he's got enough conditioning at this stage. But he's certainly looked fantastic on the track."
The Article Rohan Connolly/TheAge/16Jun06

Teams: Clarke ready
St Kilda coach Grant Thomas said he had no concerns about recalling the fleet-footed Xavier Clarke for tonight's clash against Adelaide at Telstra Dome. Clarke has missed six games after arthroscopic surgery on his hip. Thomas said he had debated whether to ease Clarke back through the VFL, but he felt the explosive rebounder was ready for the big stage.
The Article Jon Pierik/HeraldSun/16Jun06

Saints/Crows Preview
St Kilda can show its top-four campaign is back on track by beating the Crows at home. Its win in the Sydney wet last week was the high point of an only-average season so far. Also, Nathan Van Berlo is injured and Andrew McLeod could need foot surgery after this week, so the Crows could be vulnerable after last week's great escape against Brisbane. Key: Fraser Gehrig. The big Saint forward is due for a 'bag' - after kicking six goals in round six, the Coleman Medallist has not kicked more than three in a game. Tip: St Kilda by 10 points.
Round 12 previews Roger Vaughan (AAP)/HeraldSun/16Jun06

Stevens earns tilt at Riewoldt
. . . Riewoldt? Craig's dance cards are placed in this order - Scott Stevens, Nathan Bassett and then Kris Massie . . . Craig this week reached for his debriefing notes on this final that brought him much criticism for not putting a tag on former St Kilda captain Robert Harvey and not controlling Adelaide midfielder Scott Thompson, whose undisciplined litter of free kicks in the first term aided the Saints. Craig yesterday was philosophical on his coaching that night - and how he will respond tonight.
The Article Michelangelo Rucci/Adelaide Advertiser/16Jun06

St Kilda optimistic after Koschitzke returns to training track
St Kilda is beginning to elevate its hopes of a return to football this season by Justin Koschitzke after the injury-stricken ruck-forward received a positive report on his health this week. Saints football manager Matthew Rendell said yesterday that Koschitzke, who fractured his skull in round six, had returned to the training track. "He's done some training and he's looked very good," said Rendell. "He's got to get all those neurological clearances for him to play, but he's certainly feeling pretty good about himself. I think he's keen to go. It wouldn't surprise me if he lined up after the break, but it might be two or three weeks after that." Koschitzke's manager, Liam Pickering, cautioned against undue optimism about the player's return, saying it was a matter for the medical experts. "I've spoken to him and he's feeling much better. His hearing is much better. But I think it's fair to say he's more hopeful that he can play again this year rather than putting any time-frame on it. He's certainly not putting a time on it."
The Article Martin Blake/TheAge/16Jun06

McLeod surgery decision vital for finals Michelangelo Rucci/Adelaide Advertiser/16Jun06

Now it's time for the Crows
Fantastic planning led by Grant Thomas was perhaps the greatest highlight to come out of the Sydney game. The players were also fantastic in implementing the game plan, and it was a resounding effort from all 22 players on the field. The team effort was very good and the courage, selflessness and bravery displayed by the boys was evident throughout the match. The players clearly played as a group and for eachother, with the team effort clearly significant. There are still areas that the Club needs to improve in, which predominantly relate to striving for consistency. It is imperative to maintain a positive mind set and to develop that positiveness into maximising our own opportunity within a match.
The Article Jason Mifsud/St Kilda FC/

All clear for Ball
Things are starting to look up on the injury front down at Moorabbin with several long-term absentees slated for a return over the coming weeks, but the most significant news ahead of Friday night's match is the medical clearance of Luke Ball. The Saints skipper looked set for a week or two off when he was stretchered from the SCG early in the last quarter of Saturday night's two-point win over Sydney after a nasty head knock, but assistant coach Matt Rendell says he's ready to go.
The Article Jason Phelan/Sportal/

Saints in bid to farewell Tasmania
St Kilda president Rod Butterss confirmed last night that the club would attempt to withdraw or reduce its contracted games in Tasmania next year after holding talks with the AFL Commission and posing questions regarding the competition's revenue streams. The Saints, who unveiled their $16 million redevelopment on the back of last week's state government funding boost, have also replaced chief executive Jim Watts, who will depart after six years in a variety of board and administrative roles. Watts' replacement, Archie Fraser, has been promoted after serving for eight months as St Kilda's commercial operations chief. Watts, who has also served as club vice-president, is expected to move back into consultancy work.
The Article Caroline Wilson/TheAge/15Jun06

McLeod wait-and-see on surgery
But the dynamic half-back flanker will need surgery on an inflamed bursa if he continues to experience foot pain which has troubled him for the past month. That could mean two weeks on the sidelines . . . The management of McLeod's condition has seen him take cortisone injections and miss several training sessions in the past month. The inflamed bursa, a small sack of fluid that acts as a cushion between the achilles tendon and heel bone, is best cured by rest. If McLeod pulls up sore from the Saints' clash on the hard Telstra Dome surface - Reid said he is a definite starter - the Crows will consider an operation in their bye week next week. This would see him miss just one game.
The Article Andrew Capel/TheAge/15Jun06
Match Preview: St Kilda v Adelaide Angus Morgan/
Comments re AFL Review

Rix kick hit sticks, says Swan Barry
Sydney full-back Leo Barry claimed yesterday the goal kicked by St Kilda rookie Michael Rix - the first of a game the Saints won by two points at the SCG on Saturday night - had hit the post. The Swans' six-game winning streak came to an end with the loss, but Barry said yesterday that he heard and saw the ball brush the post, but his protests to the goal umpire were ignored. "It just brushed it," he said. "The goal umpire was stuck on the other side so he obviously didn't hear it. And it was raining and obviously there was a lot of noise from the crowd so it's a line-ball decision whether he would be able to hear it anyway" . . . Swans coach Paul Roos said he had not seen a replay of the goal, but was emphatic that it had not cost his team victory.
The Article Michael Cowley/TheAge/15Jun06
How Saints robbed the Swans Michael Cowley/
Rix kick hit post Tim Morrissey/HeraldSun/14Jun06
Comments re these articles

Barry out to tweak game
All-Australian AFL representative Leo Barry plans to tweak certain aspects of his game in a bid to reduce the amount of penalties and goals he is conceding. The Swans full-back and co-captain, who earned all-Australian honours in the past two seasons, has had the equal biggest amount of goals in the AFL kicked on him this season and has also given away the third-highest amount of penalties . . . Barry was adamant St Kilda ruckman Michael Rix should have been awarded a behind rather than a goal in the two-point win over the Swans at Sydney Cricket Ground last Saturday, after saying he both saw and heard the ball brush one of the goal posts.
The Article Adrian Warren/TheAustralian/15Jun06

Doctor calls for harsh penalties for bad bumps
St Kilda star Luke Ball's propensity to be concussed strikes a chord with at least two old champions who had heads that opponents liked to hit. Nathan Burke spent 10 years of his long career with St Kilda wearing a helmet to prevent the headaches and blurred vision he would get from heavy hits in pack situations. Dean Kemp, West Coast's spindly centreman, no longer exercises in any vigorous way lest he lapse into the blurred vision that ended his career in 2001.
Martin Blake/
Docs join head fight Bruce Matthews/HeraldSun/14Jun06

Saints appoint new CEO
As part of its planned succession strategy, the St Kilda Football Club board is pleased to announce that Archie Fraser will be appointed to Chief Executive Officer at the end of this season. Current caretaker CEO Jim Watts has served the Club for the past six years and, over that time, has held the roles of Director, Vice President, and Chief Executive Officer. The hand over of leadership will be phased in over the remainder of the 2006 season to allow Archie to hit the ground running. Archie Fraser joined the club in October 2005 as General Manager Commercial Operations with a view to restructuring the Club's commercial departments prior to moving into the CEO role at some stage in 2006.
The Article St Kilda FC/

Saints dig up $6m
Former AFL pauper St Kilda plans to borrow $6 million to build a new social club centre. In a key plank of the Moorabbin redevelopment, the famous gaming area and former disco will be demolished in favour of a new building on the corner of South Rd and Linton St. With $3.5 million in debt paid and another $1 million-plus profit on the cards, the Saints are confident they can fund the borrowing. "As an organisation, we're in a pretty healthy position to take on something like this," St Kilda chief executive Jim Watts said yesterday. "We're really comfortable about being able to do it . . . We'll be able to fund the borrowing there on a yield basis from the commerciality of the building."
The Article Mark Stevens/HeraldSun/14Jun06

Heart is willing, but the head hurts like hell
Luke Ball's propensity to be knocked out or concussed strikes a chord with at least two old champions who had heads that opponents liked to hit. Nathan Burke spent 10 years of his long career with St Kilda wearing a helmet to prevent the headaches and blurred vision he would get from heavy hits in pack situations. Dean Kemp, West Coast's spindly Norm Smith medallist and dual premiership centreman, no longer exercises in any vigorous way lest he lapse into the blurred vision that ended his career in 2001. Ball, the St Kilda captain who was slightly concussed and had his mouth slashed open by his teeth in a collision with teammate Matt Maguire against Sydney last Saturday night, has made a full recovery.
The Article Martin Blake/TheAge/14Jun06
Saints running out of time Dan Lonergan/ABC Sport/05Jun06

Steven Baker gets a fine
. . . St Kilda's Steven Baker and Sydney's Jude Bolton accepted fines of $1800 and $900 respectively for wrestling offences.
Bump claims Roo Bruce Matthews/Adelaide Advertiser/14Jun06

Adelaide's heralded defence
. . . Last year Adelaide gave up an average of just 68.95 points a game on the way to its first minor premiership - the best defensive record since the VFL became the AFL in 1990. This season the Crows have raised the bar even higher. Their incredibly low 66.36 points conceded is 12 points fewer than nearest rival St Kilda (78.9).
Crows back to the frontAndrew Capel/Adelaide Advertiser/13Jun06
Craig on a roll Michelangelo Rucci/Adelaide Advertiser/14Jun06

Umpires urged to pay more 50-metre penalties
AFL umpires had recently slackened in awarding 50-metre penalties when players are held after a mark and will be urged to "hold their nerve" in getting tough on scragging players, umpires manager Jeff Gieschen said yesterday. The AFL gave umpires a pre-season edict to be strict on players grabbing the jumper of a player or impeding him after a mark or free kick and it wants to make sure they maintain the policy. "It's fair to say we have missed a few of those on the weekend; there is no doubt about that," Gieschen said.
The Article Michael Gleeson/TheAge/14Jun06

AFL mid-season reports
ST KILDA Now: 7th, 6-5. Prediction: 6th, 13-9.
Injuries have helped cruel the Saints' hopes in each of the last two years and could well do so again. If - and it's a very big IF - they can get put Justin Koschitzke and Aaron Hamill back on the park, they need fear no-one. The round 18 clash with the Eagles at Telstra Dome shapes as season-defining.
All Teams - Breif Reports John Salvado (AAP)/HeraldSun/13Jun06

They're all Saints
St Kilda star Lenny Hayes was a promising youngster at Pennant Hills in Sydney before he had to move to Canberra as a teenager to have a chance of being drafted in the AFL. Not even 10 years later, another Pennant Hills boy, Josh Duncan, has been selected by the Saints as one of their two NSW scholarship players, highlighting just how far the AFL has come in its development in NSW. Duncan, 14, was the first teenager chosen by St Kilda following the recent talent camp at St Ignatius College, with 16-year-old Khan Haretuku following soon after. As recipients of the AFL scholarships, they will be nurtured by St Kilda, including travelling to Melbourne during their school holidays to train with the senior squad, as well as attending matches. They will also receive up to $20,000 a year in grants as part of the AFL initiative.
The Article

Players likely to get an extra $70 million
AFL footballers look certain to share at least $70 million more next season as negotiations between the players' union and the AFL draw to a close. While a meeting between the two parties at AFL headquarters today is not expected to resolve what had loomed as a potential dispute, both sides have conceded they are close to an agreement that will see the collective bargaining agreement extended until the end of 2011. A wage increase of at least 11 per cent - but no more than 14 per cent - in 2007 would be followed by 3 per cent increases in the following four years of the revised collective bargaining agreement with the AFL Players Association still pushing for further increases should new revenue streams emerge.
The Article Caroline Wilson/TheAge/13Jun06