Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Falling Saints Sticking Together in Tough Time

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Falling Saints Sticking Together in Tough Time

Article excerpt


ARRIVING in Brisbane yesterday for their round-19 clash with the Lions, St Kilda players were happy to have gotten out of Victoria, particularly born-and-bred Queenslander David Armitage.

It's been a hellish week down south for the Saints. Not only did they hit rock-bottom in a season of woe on the field when suffering a 101-point loss to Geelong, they were further rocked by news forward Ahmed Saad may have breached the AFL's Anti-Doping Code.

Now under review, Saad faces a two-year suspension after he allegedly tested positive to a banned substance on the day of a match. It is believed to be a "low-level stimulant" found in an energy drink.

"The club and the boys are totally behind him," Armitage told APN. "There's not much we can say at this point. All we can do is back him up."

The revelation came just four days after the Saints were both held to their lowest score (34) and suffered their biggest defeat in 11 years by the Cats at Simonds Stadium.

Armitage, who grew up in Mackay but was recruited from Morningside in 2006 just as the Saints were beginning their march towards the top, said: "I've never lost by that sort of margin". "It was really frustrating because for a quarter and a half we were actually really good," he said.

The Saints had kicked four of the first six goals, but then one of the next 20, the result against the side they only narrowly lost the '09 grand final to highlighting their alarming fall from grace. They now sit 16th with just three wins.

Once possessing the AFL's most miserly defence, the Saints now leak goals, with Zac Dawson and Brendan Goddard both gone, and Sam Fisher and Sam Gilbert injured. It has meant players such as James Gwilt, at just 188cm, has had to stand opposition power forwards.

"We're obviously a little short down back," Armitage said. "Our tallest bloke is about 192cm ... it's been tough for the backline."

Though initially surprised by the extent of his team's struggles, Armitage is now acutely aware a comprehensive rebuild must take place. …

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