05 April 2011
ADAM Schneider will replace Lenny Hayes in the St Kilda side after his two-game suspension came to an end last week.
Schneider was suspended for two matches after last year's grand final replay against Collingwood.
Injury kept him out of the NAB Cup and NAB Challenge series but coach Ross Lyon said the forward/midfielder would come straight back into the side to take on Essendon this Sunday.
"He played for Sandringham the week before and he's been doing a lot of training. He'll play; he's in. He'll replace Lenny, that's pretty simple," Lyon said.
Hayes' season looks to be over after he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in Friday night's draw against Richmond.
Another Saint who is likely to play his first game of the season is Justin Koschitzke, who has struggled with ankle injuries for much of the pre-season.
Lyon said he would be considered but was careful not too rush too many players back into the side at once.
"He's in the mix and is certainly available to be picked," he said.
"We have got to make the decision, does he play? With three interchange and a sub it puts a bit more pressure on. We're seeing fatigued players, so how many new players can you bring in? That's the question.
"But he's pretty important to the structure, I know he gives great support to Nick [Riewoldt] and I think people are starting to see how valuable he was in his position. That is certainly going to be a consideration."
The Saints have had an inauspicious start to the season with a one-point loss to Geelong followed by the draw against the Tigers.
But Lyon rejected suggestions that the team was still dwelling on the pain from last year's drawn and lost grand finals.
"I think it's water under the bridge to be honest. I think we've publically acknowledged that we went through some disappointment," he said.
"But there's no alternative, we're a professional football club and we represent 40,000-plus members and at all times we have a responsibility to compete.
"Certainly we've faced some challenges and we've got some injuries with Hayes. I think you've got to back the match committee in and the football team to make some adjustments. Our aim is to be really competitive football team and give great effort but it's about the basics.
"We had two shots within 30 seconds (at the end of the Richmond game), so it's about conversion and sticking your tackles. If we work on the basics and our consistency … it's round two - there is plenty of football left."
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