By Shayne Hope For Australian Associated Press
07:54 10 Sep 2023, updated 07:54 10 Sep 2023
- Membrey was a late withdrawal from side on Saturday
- St Kilda coach Ross Lyon revealed news hit team hard
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St Kilda coach Ross Lyon says Tim Membrey’s late withdrawal from the elimination final team is ‘no excuse’ for his side’s AFL season-ending defeat to GWS even as his assistant admitted the club was ‘rocked’ by the news.
Membrey was taken out of the Saints’ line-up a few hours before bounce at the MCG on Saturday because of what the club referred to as a ‘personal health matter’.
Young forward Anthony Caminiti was given special permission by the league to take Membrey’s place despite not being named as an emergency in the initial 26-man squad.
‘It probably challenged those closest to him, we addressed it, he’s in a safe space and our thoughts are with Tim,’ Lyon said.
‘We’ll just work through it. I’ve got nothing further to add.’
Lyon said the call was made at 8.15am on Saturday, with the AFL and GWS ticking off on the late change.
‘It’s certainly no excuse (for the result),’ Lyon said after the Saints lost 15.11 (101) to 11.11 (77).
Saints assistant coach Lenny Hayes revealed the effect the shocking news had on the team.
‘This sort of thing kinda rocks us all,’ he said.
‘In this situation, we really need to respect Tim and what he’s going through.
‘He’s got a mental health challenge at the moment that’s sort of reared, and that’s all I can really say out of respect to him.
‘He’s in really good hands at the moment and our thoughts are with him. There’s not too much more we can say.
‘Our thoughts are with Tim but we spoke to all the players about it before the game and tried to stay focused.’
St Kilda released a brief statement addressing the matter at about 10.30am on Saturday.
‘Membrey is currently receiving appropriate care and treatment due to a personal health matter,’ the statement said.
‘He will be replaced in the side by Anthony Caminiti.
‘Tim’s health and wellbeing is our primary concern and the club asks that Tim and the Membrey family’s privacy is respected at this time.’
GWS coach Adam Kingsley said the Giants were fine with St Kilda calling in Caminiti as a replacement for Membrey.
‘Obviously it’s a serious situation with Tim so we respect that and we had no issues with them replacing him with someone outside the emergencies,’ Kingsley said.
‘It’s one of those unfortunate situations that we feel for the player and it’s one of those unforeseen ones that we just moved on.’
Membrey had a delayed start to the season and managed just seven games in 2023 as he battled knee injuries and concussion.
The 29-year-old has played 160 games and kicked 263 goals over 10 AFL seasons.