ST KILDA will be without both ruck-forward Rhys Stanley and utility James Blake for up to six weeks after scans revealed the worst of weekend injuries yesterday, with Stanley at a career flashpoint.
With Brendon Goddard facing a suspension the Saints will have a vastly different look for the critical game against Essendon at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
Stanley, 20, is enduring a second consecutive year of chronic hamstring troubles. He managed just two senior games last season because he kept reinjuring his leg, and last weekend he broke down again in his first game back from another six-week absence with the same injury.
The 200-centimetre South Australian has shown great promise in his rare appearances, but the Saints now expect him to miss four to six weeks. Coach Scott Watters is now short of ruckmen and will have to call upon Justin Koschitzke to back up No. 1 ruck Ben McEvoy.
Blake, the veteran Mr Fixit of St Kilda, rolled an ankle on Sunday and has a high-level ankle sprain.
Forward Arryn Siposs and midfielder Clint Jones, late withdrawals last weekend, are expected back. Another candidate for reinstatement is Farren Ray, who had an excellent game for St Kilda’s VFL affiliate, Sandringham, against Port Melbourne last weekend.
Captain Nick Riewoldt said yesterday the evenness of the season helped St Kilda’s cause.
”Usually around this time of year the top four’s set, there’s clear favourites, maybe one or two positions up for grabs,” said Riewoldt.
”This year there’s eight to 10. It’s one of those years – it’s unique in regards to the ladder and the make-up of the ladder.”
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