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Goddard forced to fight for place at Saints

AFL 2016 Training - St Kilda 050216
Hugh Goddard is yet to cement a spot in St Kilda's backline
He'll have to fight for his position
Alan Richardson on Hugh Goddard

ST KILDA defender Hugh Goddard is not yet in the Saints' best 22, says coach Alan Richardson.

Selected with pick No. 21 in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft, Goddard played in St Kilda's opening pre-season game against North Melbourne.

The Kangaroos blew the game open in the second half and kicked 10 goals. Drew Petrie, Jarrad Waite and Mason Wood combined for 11 goals for the game, while Goddard played in defence.

"(Goddard's) had a somewhat interrupted preparation, although his last five to six weeks have been really solid," Richardson said.

"We've got a fairly experienced group in, so he'll have to fight for his position."

Goddard collapsed with heat stroke after a running session while on the Sunshine Coast last November. The 19-year-old had to spend a night in hospital.

The Saints are well stocked with defenders, with Sam Fisher, Sean Dempster and Dylan Roberton among Richardson's options.

Richardson said Fisher is coming into the season off an excellent preparation. Fisher, 33, played 18 games last year and finished equal ninth in the best and fairest with Jimmy Webster.

"He's moving as well as he has for the past five years," Richardson said.

"It's only early, of course. He hasn't had the bumps … but he'll be the man (to play on power forwards)."

Small forward Jack Sinclair won't play against Melbourne in the NAB Challenge on Sunday afternoon, an indicator he is not in St Kilda's best team. Richardson said Sinclair did not perform as well as expected against North Melbourne.

"(Sinclair) needs to make sure he gets everything right. He's got a few things he needs to work on. He'll do that against Frankston in the VFL on Saturday," he said.

The Saints commence their home and away season against Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Sunday, March 27.