AFL Draft

AFL Draft Preview: St Kilda

Key Def Gen Def Mid Gen Fwd Key Fwd Ruck Mid/Fwd Total
5 8 9 9 4 2 2 39

Average Age: 23

Players In: Logan Austin (Port Adelaide)

Players Out:

Retired/Delisted: Sean Dempster, Leigh Montagna, Nick Riewoldt, Jason Holmes, Lewis Pierce

Draft Picks: 7, 8, 34, 45

What They Got/Lost:

Above all else, the Saints lost experience and leadership. In Sean Dempster (222 games), Leigh Montagna (287) and Nick Riewoldt (336), the Saints have lost a total of 845 games experience from a young-and-upcoming team. This now means the onus is on Jack Newnes, Jack Steven, David Armitage and Maverick Weller to take this team forward. Jarryn Geary is 29 and is a quality leader, but it is the young guns who have to take responsibility now.

The acquisition of Logan Austin is a tick. If any of Nathan Brown, Jake Carlisle or Dylan Roberton go down with injury or suspension, the Saints would be light on, as only injury-prone Hugh Goddard is the only other natural key defender on the list.

In Austin, the Saints have acquired a young aggressive key defender, who has terrific closing speed and has the confidence to out mark his direct opponent.

What They Need:

The Saints will be keen to add a midfielder who oozes class and speed. The likes of Newnes, Ross, Luke Dunstan and Jack Steele are excellent in tight and winning the contested possessions, but they lack speed on the outside. Jack Steven provides speed but too often is negated, and Nathan Freeman is injury prone.

They would also be keen to add another developing ruckman since Jason Holmes and Lewis Pierce were delisted. Only Tom Hickey and Billy Longer are the true recognised ruckmen in the St Kilda line-up.

On The Radar:

The Saints will be keeping their fingers crossed that Eastern Ranges’ product Jaidyn Stephenson will be available at pick #7. In 2017, Stephenson transitioned from a dangerous forward to a game-breaking midfielder. He is lightning fast, composed with ball in hand and has an excellent footballing brain, making him a worthy selection.

With pick #8, the Saints should look at Andrew Brayshaw. Like his older brother, Angus, Andrew is a midfielder who can win the contested possession, but it is his vision and skill execution that separates him from the other midfielders.

Later on, the Saints could look at Subiaco’s Ben Miller to boost their ruck stocks. Miller is an athletic, agile and skilful ruckman who covers the ground well, and provides a presence whenever he is on the footy field.

The Saints are fortunate indeed to have these picks, which will definitely go towards assuaging the loss of those 845 games.

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