Ross Lyon remains steadfast in exposing his young players to as much game-time as possible early in their careers as St Kilda and Richmond prepare to meet at Norwood Oval for Sunday’s Gather Round clash.

This week’s extended squad selection sees four of the club’s five first-year draftees named, including last week’s debutant Angus Hastie, potential first-gamer Hugo Garcia and first-round selections Darcy Wilson and Lance Collard.

Lyon is determined to “build the kids” in an experience sense over the coming weeks despite their raw attributes, with a growing injury list allowing him to debut three of his five first-year players. But Lyon’s expectations have not lessened. 


“We’re a young group … we were a young group last year and we’re a young group again this year… that’s the journey we’re on,” Lyon said at this morning’s press conference. 

“We’re really excited … it’s about the improvement. We’re young, but this doesn’t give us an excuse.

“We have to perform. We want to be an ‘every-time’ team.”

Lyon is confident that his knowledgeable and accomplished seniors, particularly in-form and injury-free skipper Jack Steele, Saints veteran Seb Ross and dual All-Australian Jack Sinclair, will hold the youngsters in good stead as they accumulate more game time and further exposure to professional football. 

“You can’t buy experience … but we’ve got some really good senior players. (The young players) will be learning some lessons.” Lyon said.

Wanganeen-Milera has really benefited from Sinclair, and Jack Steele is critical. 

We’re thrilled with his captaincy and our leaders. He’s really started to shine in his captaincy, we’re thrilled.

- Ross Lyon

Lyon says the team are on the same page about what needs to be improved upon following last week’s late slip to Essendon, in which he admitted his team were unable to “close out” the dying minutes of the game. 

“They’ve been eight point and four point (losses in Round 1 and Round 3) … we’re clear on what we need to improve.” 

Norwood Oval is readying for a royal return on Sunday for key forward Max King, who will slot back into the side after seeing out his one-match suspension. 

The Saints will be without Marcus Windhager however, who similarly received a one-game sanction for rough conduct on Essendon’s Sam Durham.

While the uniquely shaped Norwood Oval is new territory for the Saints, Lyon remains unfazed by the peculiar dimensions and is confident the week’s preparation will be of benefit.

In fact, there’s not much time to dwell when your team’s got some “sizzle”. 

“We’ve got a lot of sizzle … maybe too much sizzle,” he joked. 

“We could play on asphalt this weekend we’re that excited.”