St Kilda veteran Sam Fisher faces an uncertain future after injuring his jaw in the Saints’ heavy loss to Sydney on Saturday night.
The Saints’ season is over and possibly so too the career of Fisher, who was sent to hospital after a hit from Sydney ruckman Toby Nankervis. The incident is likely to result in Nankervis coming under the scrutiny of the match review panel.
Fisher, who is out of contract at the end of the year, did not return to the field. Whether he adds to his 227-game tally will hinge on how seriously he has hurt his jaw.
Fisher was one of the club’s most important players during the heady years under Ross Lyon but is at long odds to get another contract with Jake Carlisle to return next year and Hugh Goddard waiting in the wings in the key defensive posts. The 34-year-old has played only 11 games this season due to injury.
“We’ll have conversations with all our players in the fullness of time, we still have a couple of weeks to run,” Saints coach Alan Richardson said.
“We just have to wait and see and have those conversations respectfully at the end of the year.”
Tom Hickey is also in doubt for next week after hurting his lower leg.
The Saints remain a mathematical chance to make the finals but their hopes are all but dashed after being outclassed by the rampant Swans in the second half.
Although the Saints have claimed some decent scalps this year, Richardson said teams like Sydney were at a different level .
“They were too good in the contest. Their midfield versus our midfield there’s a gap,” Richardson said.
“We acknowledge they have a bit more depth and experience but we have some good players who have been in good form so we have high expectation and expect them to bounce back. Some of our young blokes got pretty good lessons tonight.”
The Saints trailed by only five points at the long break but were blown away in the second half, outscored 15 goals to four. Richardson said the Swans got more value from their 53 tackles than the Saints’ 79, while they were conceded 13 goals to two from clearances.
“Our ability to execute, strip and drag them down in tackles was nowhere near as good as theirs,” Richardson said.
“Their ability to execute under pressure and deliver quality footy on entry was way superior to ours after half-time, and we got pretty badly beaten on the outside.
“It was disappointing, it was as if the guys completely ran out of legs and didn’t quite have the real appetite for the brutal contest after half-time which was surprising.
“We were pretty positive for a half. We acknowledge they’re at a different level to us so to match that for a half was positive but to fall away as badly as we did was really disappointing.”
The Saints face Richmond and Brisbane in the final two rounds, games in which they should start favourite.