Stephen Milne finds the footy in St Kilda's practice match
STEPHEN Milne has shown age is not slowing him down, turning in a starring performance at St Kilda's intra-club practice match in Seaford on Saturday.
With other experienced Saints Lenny Hayes, Nick Riewoldt, Sean Dempster and Adam Schneider all being rested, Milne booted four goals and had a hand in several others.
The 32-year-old's fellow small forwards Terry Milera (three goals) and Ahmed Saad (two goals) were also lively, showing they'll be a hard trio to keep quiet this season.
St Kilda coach Scott Watters said Milne was on track for a strong start to the year.
"He won't play every NAB Cup game, but he is a player [who thrives on hard work]," Watters said.
"Up until Christmas his program was modified, so his workload has increased since Christmas, but he's in a real work phase at the moment.
"He does thrive on hard work, and has his whole career.
"He was pretty lively out there today."
Beau Maister, who changed his surname from Wilkes during the week
, was the best of the key forwards, taking some strong marks and booting three goals.
Ruckman Ben McEvoy left the ground midway through the match and didn't return to the field, but Watters said there was no injury concern.
"Ben has a massive workload throughout the year, so he completed the appropriate minutes that we expected him to play today," Watters said.
"He's not a player that we need to overly work at this time of year."
With the Saints set to take on Port Adelaide and Adelaide in round one of the NAB Cup next weekend, Watters said the workload of older players would continue to be managed.
But, he said, all of Hayes, Riewoldt, Dempster, Schneider and Rhys Stanley, who also sat out the game, would be ready for the start of the home and away season.
"It's a pretty normal sort of preparation," Watters said.
"Lenny Hayes doesn't need to be playing five or six games leading into round one, and nor does Nick.
"So it's just a modified preparation for them. They'll join in the NAB Cup at an appropriate phase and they'll be ready to go for round one."
Young ruckman Tom Hickey, recruited from Gold Coast in the off-season, was another to show strong form, and Jack Steven and David Armitage both won a lot of the ball.
Watters also addressed this week's Australian Crime Commission report into performance enhancing drugs in sport, saying it was important that players didn't allow themselves to be distracted.
"It's caused everyone in the industry to reflect – you wouldn't be human if that wasn't the case," he said.
"We're really comfortable and really re-assured with where we sit.
"I have full confidence in the ethics that our staff here bring to the football club.
"So whilst you always have to be vigilant, we're really comfortable from a process and a staff point of view.
"As a coach, we are very, very focussed on what we do, so it's about limiting the distractions.
"Considering the enormity of the stories that are out there, that's a challenge, because the press is the press and we're all affected by it."
Stephen Milne is a forward in AFL Fantasy. He averaged 68.5 points in 2012. Register your team at our AFL Fantasy hub.