Ross Lyon Gambles on Form Over History for St Kilda Elimination Final


Ross Lyon, St Kilda’s seasoned coach, is backing form over history, as he gears up to omit crucial defender Dougal Howard from Saturday’s elimination final match against GWS. Lyon refers to his strategy as “possession is nine-tenths of the law,” showing confidence in Zaine Cordy to accomplish the task at hand.

Howard, a constant force in the St Kilda defence for four seasons, has managed to play every game until the 19th round of the ongoing season. However, a fractured wrist benched him, paving the way for Cordy, a past victor of the 2016 Premiership with the Western Bulldogs and a player loaded with finals experience.

While Howard has received the green light for his return, Lyon announced that Cordy would retain his position after having collected some notable victories in recent weeks.

“Dougal has missed a bit, but it was a wrist and Dougal really grew throughout the year with us. In fairness to Zaine, he has had some good scalps and played well,” Lyon shared during a Thursday discourse.

On top of that, Lyon acknowledged the significant choice he has to make regarding seasoned midfielder Seb Ross. Ross had completed full training on Thursday but has participated in only a single full match since the 16th round due to hamstring difficulties, a fact evident in his withdrawal from round 21’s victory against Geelong.

Lyon didn’t shy away from admitting the risks, expressing, “It’s a big decision because of the risk of recurrence. He hasn’t played a lot in the last month. Once you declare yourself, you’ve got to get it done.”

Across 328 games and two tenures at St Kilda, including a stint at Fremantle, Lyon has acted as coach in 20 finals and made it to four grand finals. His strategy to prepare the team throughout the year for finals matches has been commended by star forward Max King. The Saints, remarkably, have managed to secure a sixth position on the ladder after maintaining their spot in the top eight throughout the home-and-away season.

The upcoming MCG duel signifies the club’s first final in Melbourne since 2011 when Lyon was last at the helm. Acknowledging the team’s underdog status, Lyon said the team is ready to take on the challenge.

“We’ve had our backs to the wall and that’s nothing new. It probably steels us just that little bit more. I‘ve loved some of the language from our players – we prepare like it’s a final every week, nothing is really different, just the result is bigger,” Lyon shared.


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