Time for young Saints to shine
Lenny Hayes. Pic: Getty Images

St Kilda coach Alan Richardson will call on the messages from Lenny Hayes' retirement speech to drive his young midfield against Fremantle tomorrow.

The last-placed Saints have lost their past 11 games, while Fremantle have surged into second on the back of eight consecutive victories.

Hayes will play out the year, but discussed the next generation of St Kilda players during his retirement speech on Tuesday.

Richardson said Fremantle's star-studded midfield was the perfect time for the young Saints to show they could step up in the post-Hayes era.

"There was some really strong noise about opportunities for young blokes and responsibility for young blokes that came out of Lenny's press conference," Richardson said.

"Dunstan and Armitage and Weller and these sorts of guys need to step up. That's been the space that we've been in all year, but it was probably magnified on Tuesday with Lenny.

"Those opportunities will present themselves again against people like Mundy and Fyfe.

"They're one of the best midfield groups in the competition.

"It's going to be an outstanding opportunity and challenge for our young team."

The Saints lost by 59 points to North Melbourne last Saturday, kicking just three goals.

Fremantle have conceded an average of 56 points in their eight-game winning run and Richardson knows what to expect at Etihad Stadium.

"We need to maximise our opportunities," Richardson said.

"We can't kick 1.6 in a quarter that we dominate and be in a position to be competitive.

"That's a real focus for us. We had 18 shots and kicked 3.15."

Despite several high-profile AFL players retiring in recent weeks, Richardson said other senior Saints were waiting to see if they could get through the year injury-free before thinking about next season.

But he said captain Nick Riewoldt would definitely play in 2015.

He could be rejoined in the forward line by Ahmed Saad after Richardson confirmed the club was talking to the 24-year-old former Saint about playing once his 18-month suspension for taking a banned substance expired.

"It's a tricky situation because he won't be able to work with us physically in our program until after the draft," Richardson said.

The West Australian

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