Strathfieldsaye adds more ex-AFL talent to its list for 2014
STRATHFIELDSAYE has received another injection of AFL experience, with the addition of former St Kilda player Steven Baker.
Baker trained with his new Storm team-mates for the first time at Tannery Lane on Thursday night alongside another of the Storm's ex-St Kilda recruits, Stephen Milne.
Baker (203) and Milne (275) combine to provide last year's Bendigo Football League runners-up with 478 games of AFL experience.
"I had a chat with Darryl (Wilson, Storm coach) a couple of weeks ago and obviously, Milney is a big drawcard for me having played 10 or so years with him at St Kilda," Baker told the Bendigo Advertiser.
"This is the first session I've been to tonight... it's exciting, but I'm also a bit nervous coming to a new club."
The Storm will be Baker's first taste of country footy since he played with South Colac, which included playing in a senior premiership in the Colac District Football League in 1997.
"I've played a little bit of country footy before, so I'm looking forward to getting back into it," the 33-year-old said.
"I don't know a lot about Strathfieldsaye. They've been around for five years, won more games each year and couldn't quite seal the deal in the grand final last year.
"Hopefully, Milney and I can help them get over the line this year and I can get one more tattoo before I hang up the boots.
"Milney and I obviously bring a lot of experience and we'll be able to add our opinions on different tactics that we know.
"Milney might control the forward line and I'll have a bit of input on the backline.
"I learned a lot of good defensive structures under Ross Lyon, and Grant Thomas was an attacking coach, so we've got a lot of different tactics we can teach the boys."
An aggressive run-with player during his AFL career, Baker spent 1999 to 2011 with St Kilda, with his 203 games including grand finals in 2009 and 2010 (two), but no flag.
Baker played with Sorrento last year, but had to have a deregistration for exceeding the maximum number of weeks suspension in his career overturned to continue playing.
However, Baker again faces deregistration if he receives another two matches worth of suspension.
"I'll expect players to be baiting me, like I did during my AFL career when I was the hated player on the opposition," Baker said.
"I'm used to all the banter, so I'll just have to make sure I keep my hands in my pockets."