Saints’ see the positives in tough year

St Albans' Zac Jimenez. (Damjan Janevski)

Tara Murray

St Albans has seen a glimpse into the future in the Western Region Football League division 1 competition.

The Saints have been hit hard by injuries in the first 10 rounds of the season and have played more players in the first 10 rounds than they normally would for a full season.

Coach Zammy Muhtari said it hadn’t been the season they were after.

“It has been a struggle with a lot of injuries to start the season,” he said. “Availability of players has hurt us a bit.

“We’re already played 41 players in the first 10 rounds. You’ve got players like Tim Jenkins who is out for the year, is a superstar.

“Captain Jack Sims has only been back the last couple of rounds. When you start losing experience like that it hurts the side.”

While the injuries and unavailability’s have hurt the progress of the side this year, with the team winning just three games from the first 10, it hasn’t been all bad.

Muhtari said it had meant some players were getting opportunities they wouldn’t have got otherwise.

“We’ve seen some of the young kids,” he said. “We’ve got the next crop of kids coming through and they’re taking their opportunities with both hands and playing roles.

“Cooper Ellis is 17 and has played about three games. We’ve got a 15-year-old Brodie Lyons-Jones who has been the 23rd player.

“It’s a reward for some of the young kids and what they’ve done for the club. We’ve seen what the future lays ahead.”

With several of those experienced players, who are out not returning this season, Muhtari said they will have to continue to go back to the drawing board for the rest of the year.

He said more kids will get an opportunity, while some players in the reserves will get a go too.

“We have to keep playing the youth and some guys in the reserves will get more opportunities,” he said.

“We’ll see how those guys go stepping up to the next level.

Sitting seventh with eighth matches remaining, the Saints are still mathematically in with a chance to play finals.

While Muhtari knows it will be hard, they won’t be giving up.

They were beaten by Spotswood on Saturday, 11.17 (83)-4.13 (37).

“We need to start winning ASAP or the door closes,” he said. “Hopefully we can create a few upsets.

“It’s been quite a few years since we’ve beaten Spotswood. We’ll be ready and the boys will keep looking for opportunity to play and to get the four points.