ST KILDA key defender Rhys Stanley's left knee injury may not be as serious as first thought, although the Saints and coach Scott Watters will be sweating on the results of scans on Monday.
"It's a hyper-extended knee, which is potentially a good thing, and it doesn't look that serious," Watters said after his side defeated the Sydney Swans by 23 points in their NAB Cup clash at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
"But having said that, it's very hard to make these assessments, or have some finality on these assessments, until you get a scan.
"It looked bad initially; it doesn't look quite as bad now."
Watters on Stanley, Saints' form
The 22-year-old hyper-extended his left knee midway through the third quarter of the Saints' 0.13.12 (90) to 1.8.10 (67) come-from-behind triumph.
Stanley missed 10 games with hamstring injuries in 2012, and Watters admitted his heart sunk when he saw his promising big man limp off.
The other talking point out of the game was the fact the Sydney Swans breached the trial interchange cap – on purpose.
While it was highlighted on the television coverage – the Swans made 23 interchanges in the final quarter, instead of the allowed 20 – it was later confirmed to AFL.com.au
that the Swans and the AFL match day manager were aware of the infringement.
Under the interchange rule, a club is permitted, in theory, to make a maximum of 23 interchanges for the quarter – under the provision that those players coming off the ground must sit off for a period of 15 minutes.
Asked post-match about the incident, Swans coach John Longmire was not across the development.
"It's just something you've got to be mindful of. I wasn't aware of any numbers or anything over, it is what it is," Longmire said.
The Saints trailed the Swans – who were much improved from their NAB Cup round one showing – at every change, but booted five goals to one in the final term to seal the victory.
We're training players hard: Longmire
Small forwards Ahmed Saad (two goals), Trent Dennis-Lane (two) and Sam Dunnell all proved to be a handful up forward, even in the absence of captain Nick Riewoldt.
Saad and Dennis-Lane – coming up against his old team for the first time – both booted brilliant snap goals.
For the Swans, Mike Pyke played a lone hand in the ruck (29 hit-outs), with Daniel Hannebery (30 disposals) and stand-in skipper Jude Bolton (27 and six tackles), typically leading the way.
What it means:
Swans coach John Longmire said the club is in the middle of a strong training block, but was pleased with a much improved showing. However, both coaches stressed their focus was firmly fixed on round one. For the Saints, the development of their small forwards will be another thing they can take out of the game.
What the coaches said:
"I don't read too much in to NAB Cup games. However, we had a number of kids out there today that were exposed to some key roles. That sort of exposure you can't buy. To be behind, on a number of occasions, and to continue to dig themselves out of that, they (would've) gained a lot of confidence."- St Kilda coach Scott Watters
"We played in patches that were a bit longer and sustained this week, whereas I don’t think we had any patches last week. I thought for the first 15 minutes of quarters we played some pretty good footy." – Sydney Swans coach John Longmire.
While Leigh Montagna, as he usually does, was the standout with 120 fantasy points, it was Arryn Siposs who seemed to make significant strides against the Swans. He booted a brilliant goal from outside 50 to go along with his 12 disposals and 45 fantasy points. Scott Watters said the aim is to educate the youngster in a number of roles, not just stationing him forward – which could be good news for his fantasy production.
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ST KILDA 0.1.2 0.6.6 0.8.9 0.13.12 (90)
SYDNEY SWANS 0.3.2 1.5.6 1.7.9 1.8.10 (67)
Dunnell 2, Saad 2, Dennis-Lane 2, Siposs, Maister, Ray, Montagna, Milera, Jones, Armitage
Everitt 2, Lloyd 2, White, Lamb, Towers, Reid,
Montagna, Jones, Armitage, Siposs, Ross, Saad
Hannebery, Bolton, Jetta, Armstrong, Pyke, Rampe
Stanley (hyper-extended left knee)
Roberts-Thomson (tight calf)
Kamolins, Pannell, McPhee
TBA at Etihad Stadium