The timely return of triple Trevor Barker Award winner Jack Steven will help boost St Kilda’s midfield ahead of their big challenge against Geelong at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, says Saints Coach Alan Richardson.
After missing the last fortnight with a puncture lung, the 27-year-old bolsters a midfield that will be without star onballer David Armitage for an extended period after he aggravated his groin in the win over Collingwood.
With Geelong’s midfield built around reigning Brownlow medallist Patrick Dangerfield and five-time All-Australian Joel Selwood, Richardson is confident the inclusion of Steven will help the Saints counteract the Cats' superstar combination.
“It’s brilliant to have Jack back in the team; he gives us real energy,” Richardson said at a press conference at Linen House Centre on Friday morning.
“We’ve been up against strong midfields for the last two weeks without Jack. He’s a very dynamic midfielder with his combination of his inside work and his outside work.
“We all know and respect not only the talent of Geelong’s midfield, but now their depth; it’s their midfield that is coming through that’s just as strong as Selwood and Dangerfield. It’s going to be a big challenge, but Jack certainly helps.”
Richardson confirmed that Armitage will ‘miss a bit of footy’ after the seasoned star pulled up sore in his groin again after already missing the trip to Perth in Round 2 and the win over Brisbane the week after.
The Queenslander will undergo scans in the middle of next week to determine whether he needs surgery or rest to resolve the issue.
“We haven’t been able to get a lot out of Dave. Even when Dave’s played he has struggled a bit and he’ll go out for a while unfortunately,” Richardson said.
“He’s still pulling up really sore after the game, so he’ll have to have some tests, but it looks likely he’ll miss a bit of footy unfortunately.
“We don’t really know the extent of it until he has those scans, but my understanding is that will be the middle of the week and we’ll have a bit more information then.
“It looks like he might possibly need some corrective surgery but if not at least an extended rest to make sure we can get it right. We’ll know a bit more later in the week.”