Team effort needed to stop Buddy: Saints

St Kilda’s Dylan Roberton predicts a handful of his AFL side’s defenders will be needed to curb the influence of Sydney superstar Lance Franklin.

The Saints will stay in the mix for finals on Saturday if they manage to upset the Swans at Etihad Stadium and North Melbourne lose to Hawthorn at the MCG.

Shutting down the influence of Franklin will boost their hopes of a victory immensely.

Franklin has lost ground in the race for the Coleman medal during recent weeks but St Kilda will remember the season-high haul of nine goals he kicked against their side in 2014.

And as Roberton points out, the 29-year-old remains a potent force no matter where he is on the ground.

“Buddy Franklin can do it all,” the rebounding defender said.

“Obviously he can run all day. We’ve got a few people that can go with him. Gilbo (Sam Gilbert) can probably run with him when he’s higher up the ground.

“Chips (Sam Fisher) when he’s deep and then hopefully Sean Dempster can come across the top and take a few intercept marks.

“We’re just going to have to try and win our one-on-ones and when we can look to support.”

Roberton, who will play his 100th game this weekend, noted St Kilda’s defence will learn plenty no matter what happens.

“We are a bit undersized this year, so the taller teams .. they’ve really tested our ability to play one on one,” he said.

“We’re getting better … we’re building and next year, getting Jake Carlisle back will really strengthen us up.”

Roberton suggested the prospect of featuring in finals – slim as it is – wasn’t on his mind.

“None of us get carried away with that, because where we’ve come from it has never really been on our radar at this time of the year,” he said.

“We’re still relying on other teams dropping games. That’s not where we want to be.

“We’ve got at least three weeks left and need to make the most of it, starting with the Pride Game against Sydney which is going to be massive for the club.”

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