Arryn Siposs makes the transition from childhood Saints fan to Rising Saints Star

For the fifth successive match Arryn Siposs had at least 14 possessions against Brisbane in Round 16 at the Gabba and he has averaged 16.0 possessions a game in his last five games. In his first eight AFL matches before this sequence begun Siposs averaged 5.3 possessions a game and his most possessions in a game was 11.

During the 71 point Round 15 victory against Essendon at Etihad Stadium  Siposs played brilliantly to have 12 kicks, five handballs, six marks, kick two goals, have one goal assist and use the ball superbly to have a disposal efficiency of 88%. In recognition of this performance Siposs received the Round 15 AFL Rising Star nomination, becoming just the fifth St Kilda player to receive a nomination since the start of the 2004 season, joining Rapael Clarke (Round 22, 2005), Sam Gilbert (Round 16, 2007), Jarryn Geary (Round 8, 2009) and Jack Steven (Round 10, 2011).

After receiving the Round 15 Rising Star nomination Siposs said “It’s definitely a dream come true for me to play with guys I’ve been watching for a long time, and I’m just trying to make the most of it.”1

Siposs kicked 99 goals in a season in the Under 16s for Beaconsfield in the Mornington Peninsula Football League however it was a school football match that led to Siposs finally getting a spot on the Dandenong Stingrays list for the 2010 season. Playing for his school Hallam, Siposs kicked eight goals against a Wondonga side that included seven members from the Murray Bushrangers Under 18s side in the TAC Cup.

Siposs made the most of his opportunity with the Dandenong Stingrays under 18s in 2010, playing 15 games and kicking 37 goals, ranked fifth in the TAC Cup, he averaged 9.3 kicks, 5.1 handballs and 5.1 marks per game.  Arryn’s Stingrays form resulted in him playing one match for Vic Country at the 2010 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships in which he had 12 possessions including eight contested, kicked one goal and had two goal assists. Torn hip cartilage sustained in the TAC Cup 2010 finals ruled him out of physical testing at the 2010 AFL Draft combine.

When the St Kilda Football Club drafted Arryn Siposs with the number 75 selection at the 2010 AFL National Draft he was 188 centimetres tall and weighed 82 kilograms. Hearing his name called out by St Kilda was the ideal result for Arryn and his family who were passionate supporters of the St Kilda Football Club.

Arryn’s 2011 pre-season was hampered by a quadriceps injury and after playing the first three Rounds of the 2011 season in the VFL and being named an emergency for Round 6 Arryn Siposs made his AFL debut at 18 years of age in Round 7 2011 against Carlton at Etihad Stadium, becoming the fifth Saint to make their AFL debut in 2011.

The week before Arryn made his AFL debut St Kilda football manager Greg Hutchison commented on Siposs “His work without the ball has been good. He’s been able to chase and tackle and put some pressure on in the forward line, and his knowledge on where to go to be a target in the forward half has been impressive for (VFL affiliate) Sandy.”2

On debut  Siposs showed great composure at the 19 minute mark of the last quarter to kick a set-shot goal from sixty metres out, assisted by a Stephen Milne sheppard in the goalsquare. Against Carlton Siposs had three kicks, one handpass, three marks and 100% disposal efficiency.

In the first six minutes of the Round 8 match at the MCG against Hawthorn Siposs showed great composure to set up the opening two goals, both times  with great passes to Nick Riewoldt that allowed the Saints captain to take easy marks whilst running back towards goal. Siposs was in St Kilda’s best players with seven kicks, four handballs, four marks, two goals, two goal assists and 91% disposal efficiency.

St Kilda defeated Melbourne by 20 points in Round 9 and Siposs was one of four players along with Jamie Cripps, Nick Winmar and Dean Polo to play in their first victory with the St Kilda Football Club. St Kilda’s opening goal against Melbourne was set up by a precision pass from Siposs which enabled Stephen Milne to take a chest mark. At the start of the last quarter Jamie Cripps was substituted onto the ground to replace fellow 2010 draftee Siposs.

After three matches in a row with six possessions from Round 9 to Round 11 Siposs was dropped to the VFL for Round 12 where he remained until Round 20, a shin injury brought his 2011 season to a premature end.

Siposs played 5 matches in 2011 averaging 93 minutes, 4.2 kicks, 2.4 handballs, 3.0 marks and 1.0 goals per game, with an elite disposal efficiency of 90.9%. Whilst Siposs only averaged 6.6 possessions a game in 2011, he demonstrated great composure and an ability to make an impact with limited possessions due to his damaging ball use, particularly around goal or delivering the ball inside 50.

Siposs was injury free during his second pre-season at AFL level enabling him to increase his strength, by the start of the 2012 season he had added five kilograms to his draft weight, increasing to 87 kilograms.

After commencing the season in the VFL Siposs played his first AFL match of the 2012 season in Round 6 against Hawthorn and had more than six possessions for only the second time in his career (coincidently both matches were against Hawthorn), having eight kicks, three handballs and taking four marks.

For Round 7 against Carlton Siposs started as the substitute and had four possessions in 13% game time. Siposs was dropped for Round 8 and again used as a substitute in Round 9 against Sydney.

Arryn Siposs set a new career high in his ninth AFL match, Round10 against Richmond with 12 possessions in only 28% game time after starting the match as the substitute.  In each his four matches since playing Richmond he has had at least 14 possessions, with 20 in Round 11 vs Gold Coast, 14 in Round 14 vs Adelaide, 17 in Round 15 vs Essendon and 17 vs Brisbane in Round 16.

Up to Round 16 Siposs had played eight matches in 2012 averaging 63% game time, 8.6 kicks, 4.0 handballs, 5.0 marks and 1.0 goals per game, with a disposal efficiency of 73%.

Throughout 2012 Siposs has spent time playing on a wing as well as in the forward line. Throughout his football career Siposs had never played in the midfield before this season, one of the aims of the move is to develop Arryn into a more rounded footballer and strengthen the defensive side of his game.

Siposs has relished increased game-time in recent weeks having played at least 82% game-time in each of his past four games. During this time Siposs has been making a greater impact on the scoreboard, having one goal assist and at least three scoring shots in each of these matches.

Four times throughout his carrer Siposs has kicked two goals, his past three matches and Round 8 2011 vs Hawthorn. Against Brisbane on Saturday Siposs kicked a classy goal in general play from the right forward pocket in the second quarter and extended St Kilda’s lead to 11 points with the final goal of the match at the 24 minute mark of the last quarter after taking a well judged contested mark .

In the week following Arryn’s Rising Star nomination St Kilda coach Scott Watters said. “His capacity to play multiple roles combined with his elite kicking skills are highly valued. And with a continued focus on improvement we believe Arryn can develop into an extremely versatile player.”3

The greatest strengths of Arryn’s during his AFL career so far have been his poise and the quality of his ball-use which has resulted in him having a disposal efficiency of at least 80% in nine of his 13 matches.

It has been a rapid rise for Arryn Siposs who three years ago in 2009 was not even on the Dandenong Stingrays Under 18s list, he has now made the transition from childhood Saints fan to Rising Saints Star.

By Dean Andrews

1 AFL, Saint Siposs steps up by Ben Collins, AFL.com.au, 10 July 2012

2 Herald Sun, St Kilda debutant has the Golden Boat by Sam Landsberger, May 9 2011

3 Herald Sun, Versatile Saint Arryn Siposs named AFL Rising Star by Bruce Matthews, July 10 2012

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