Anthony Caminiti celebrates a goal during the VFL R1 match between Sandringham and Collingwood at RSEA Park on March 22, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

ST KILDA will turn to rookie Anthony Caminiti and small forward Dan Butler to help cover the loss of star spearhead Max King and recruit Liam Henry in Saturday's clash against Essendon at Marvel Stadium. 

The Saints confined Collingwood to a 0-3 start to its premiership defence last Thursday night, but the 15-point win in Spud's Game came at a cost. 

Off-season signing Henry will miss at least the next six weeks after sustaining a high-grade hamstring injury early in the fourth quarter, while King is suspended this weekend after failing to overturn a one-game ban for rough conduct on Magpies youngster Finlay Macrae. 

Veteran wingman Mason Wood will miss at least a month after undergoing surgery last Friday to repair the collarbone he broke in a nasty collision that also left the former North Melbourne utility with concussion. 

St Kilda captain Jack Steele ran laps with the rehab group at the start of training on Thursday and didn't train with the main group due to illness, but the dual All-Australian is expected to be available on Saturday. 

Caminiti, who played 18 games in 2023, including the elimination final loss to Greater Western Sydney after being signed during the pre-season supplemental selection period, kicked two goals for Sandringham last Friday, while Butler banked some game time after two rounds of ankle surgery interrupted his pre-season. 

Anthony Caminiti marks the ball during the R10 match between St Kilda and GWS at Engie Stadium on May 21, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

"It is not ideal, but Essendon is in the same boat losing a big power forward [Peter Wright to suspension]. Anthony Caminiti will come in. He is probably a little bit unlucky not to have been in. He kicked 20 goals in his first year – a goal a week is a good number – he is a big contested mark, so I'm sure he will come in and compete," Lyon told reporters at RSEA Park. 

"We wish we had exactly like-for-like, but it doesn't work like that. Butler will come in, as long as he gets through today, he will play. We have three really strong wingers and a fourth with [Darcy] Wilson. We love Mase, but [Ryan] Byrnes went there and ran with it. I thought he was one of our best players to be fair. 'Hilly' [Bradley Hill] has been playing on the wing. 

"We've got about 10-12 on the injury list, but importantly, only three of them are soft tissue. Henry was a big one, wasn't it? We've dealt with it all before, so we just got on with it."

Dan Butler celebrates a goal during the VFL R1 match between Sandringham and Collingwood at RSEA Park on March 22, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Draftee Arie Schoenmaker is in the hunt for a debut on Easter Saturday after producing a standout showing for Sandringham in round one of the VFL, collecting 33 disposals and 13 marks at RSEA Park.

Lyon said the AFL's clinical intervention model, where players are tested for illicit substances under the supervision of club doctors, has the right intentions but the League's Illicit Drugs Policy can be improved. 

The 57-year-old was quizzed by reporters following revelations earlier this week by Federal independent MP Andrew Wilkie in parliament that players had been withdrawn from games to avoid drug testing by Sports Integrity Australia on game day. 

"Mine and the club's starting point is a wellbeing model and a medical model. I'm clearly supportive of that. It is out of my paygrade, really, in a sense that I have no real influence," Lyon said. 

STATEMENT AFL statement on Illicit Drug Policy

"I like that the AFL didn't come out and apologise for supporting players. Let's be clear, the AFLPA and the players voluntarily sign up to a policy that can help identify players and help them. They can easily walk away. If you want to make it punitive, they just walk away. 

"My view is, it's a model with the right intentions, trying to get the right outcomes. It doesn't seem to be perfect and there is some conundrums with that. Does it need a review?  It feels like it from what's been put out there. That's the club position and that's my position. 

"I've got absolute faith in the doctors that take control of it with each club and their ethics and their care for the players and their responsibility for the club. I've got absolute faith in the capability and the ethics of each club doctor to do the right thing by the player and the club and the AFL."


Lyon hopes Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera can maintain and build on his blistering start to the season, after the former first-round pick collected 10 coaches votes for his 32 disposals, 613 metres gained and eight intercepts against the Magpies.

"There have been a lot of bouquets thrown around. He had a good game, but it doesn't guarantee him a good game this week. I'm pretty hard to impress, I'd like to see that for another 20 weeks," he said.


"His prep is good, he puts a lot into his mental preparation and physically he is a really good athlete. Mason Wood has played a big part with him bringing him along and helping him prepare. Those two are really close. 

"He is equal to [Mitch] Owens and [Marcus] Windhager and Steele. I’ve been very fortunate to work into a group that is really applying themselves to their football. It is a weight of numbers; the more you get that prepare like that the easier it is to get average preparers to become great preparers."