St Kilda Season Review by Nick Ciantar

follow on twitter: @nick_saint13

Ladder: 9th: 12 wins, 10 losses, 123.33%

Most goals: Stephen Milne (56)

Most disposals: Lenny Hayes (538)

Most handballs: Lenny Hayes (283)

Most kicks: Leigh Montagna (324)

Most tackles: Lenny Hayes (130)

Most clearances: Lenny Hayes (119)

Most contested possessions: Lenny Hayes (238)

Most marks: Sean Dempster (155)

Most inside 50′s: Leigh Montagna (94)

Most rebound 50′s: Sean Dempster (72)

Most hit outs: Ben McEvoy (405)

Played Every Game:

Lenny Hayes, Leigh Montagna, Sean Dempster, Nick Dal Santo, Stephen Milne.

Debutants:

Seb Ross, Jack Newnes, Ahmed Saad, Terry Milera, Beau Wilkes (debuted for West Coast in 2008), Sam Dunell.

Rising Star Nominee:

Arryn Siposs (round 15).

Review of Season:

Scott Watters started his coaching campaign with a 4 point defeat to Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium. The Saints then went on to win the next two games against the Suns (92 points) and Dogs (63 points). Under a new coach and an attacking game style, the team was always going to take some time to adjust. The Saints then faced Fremantle and previous coach Ross Lyon at Etihad Stadium in round 4. The Dockers won a thrilling game by 13 points. From rounds 3 to 12, St Kilda maintained a win/loss ratio. They could not get consistency in their games. The streak was broken after the bye with a round 14 defeat to North Melbourne (33 points).

For the last 9 games of the season, St Kilda won six games. They outclassed Essendon in round 15 (71 points) and were too strong for the Bulldogs (76 points), Melbourne (25 points) and Giants (128 points). The three games they lost were against top 8 teams. They were competitive against Sydney (29 points), nearly snatched a victory against Collingwood (6 points) and outclassed by Geelong (42 points).

St Kilda would be disappointed that they could not make the finals this year, however, they still proved a force to be reckoned with.

3 Best Games:

St Kilda vs. Carlton Round 7:

Stephen Milne (4 goals), Terry Milera (3 goals) and Ahmed Saad (2 goals) were dominant in a 24 point victory. Carlton had no answer for the small forwards. A 6 goal to 3 second quarter set up the victory.

St Kilda vs. Sydney Round 9:

St Kilda outclassed Sydney in the second quarter with a 28 point victory. Sydney could not matchSt Kilda’s intensity and were down by 42 points at three quarter time.

St Kilda vs. Essendon Round 15:

St Kilda was too strong for Essendon defeating them by 71 points. Nick Riewoldt played his best game for the year with 4 goals, 24 disposals and 11 marks. A 12 goal to 3 second half set up an impressive victory.

What went Right:

The kids: 6 kids debuted this year, the most since 1999. Sam Dunell, Seb Ross, Jack Newnes, Ahmed Saad, Terry Milera and Beau Wilkes all had impressive years at VFL affiliate Sandringham and took their chances at AFL level.

Pace: St Kilda has been known to be a ‘slow’ team, however, this year they were not. Saad and Milera injected some pace into the sides and they did not disappoint.

Attacking football: You had to go back to 2005 for consistent big wins. St Kilda played the slow, flooding football for the past 5 seasons and it was effective. However, the change to consistent attack was much needed and revitalised the playing group.

What went Wrong:

Consistency: St Kilda had a win/loss ratio for 10 games in a row this season. They were not able to win two games in a row and it cost them dearly at the end of the season. They eventually got more consistent as the year went on.

Lack of tall defenders: St Kilda’s tall defender of Zac Dawson left at the end of last season. At 195cm, Zac may have frustrated the fans, however, he helped by limiting the tall forwards. Tom Simpkin (191 cm), Sam Fisher (191cm) and James Gwilt (188cm) are quality defenders, yet they lack the height of Dawson.

Ruck stocks: From rounds 9-11, St Kilda had no ruckmen. Ben McEvoy (knee) and Rhys Stanley(hamstring) were both out which lead Justin Koschitzke, James Blake and even Beau Wilkes to take on ruck duties. Players were unexpectedly moved around and questions were raised as to whether St Kilda should draft or trade for another ruckman.

Most valuable player:

Lenny Hayes: Hayes had a stellar year. He won the Best and Fairest and played every game. At the age of 32, he came back from a serious knee injury and played career best football. At the end of the year, the club stated that he played the entire season with a heart problem. Hayes’ contested work and ability to come back after a serious injury shows how vital he is to the club.

Big Improver:

Jarryn Geary: Geary surprised many with a fantastic year. Many may have thought that this season would be his last chance, however he proved wrong by having a breakout year. He played 20 games off half back and defeated many highly rated opponents. He finished 6th in the best and fairest in a make or break year.

Next Star:

Arryn Siposs: At the age of 19, many Saints fans are getting excited. He debuted last year as a forward, however, he played 11 games this year switching from half back to half forward. His kicking is pin point and can take contested marks.

What we need:

Tall defender: On many occasions this year St Kilda’s defence leaked goals. Watters’ has already stated that the club is looking for a key defender. Troy Chaplin and Mitch Brown have been linked to the club.

Tall ruck/forward: St Kilda’s talls of McEvoy, Stanley and Koschitzke all had terrific years. Though when Stanley and McEvoy were out of the team, there was no recognised ruckman. Koschitzke is 30 years old and only has a couple of years left. Stanley seems to play better as a forward, so ideally, St Kilda would be best placed to draft a young ruckman.

Inside Midfielder: Hayes is 32 and Armitage will take his spot once Hayes retires. Another inside midfielder is needed, to give the team more depth. Although this may not be a top priority, St Kilda will need one in the future.

What to expect in season 2013?

St Kilda will be looking at nothing less than a finals spot. After an inconsistent start to the season, St Kilda rallied hard towards the end and could have easily made the finals. With kids debuting this year and senior players revitalising their careers, the clubs future looks ideally placed. If St Kilda can land a tall defender, then St Kilda could challenge for the top part of the eight. Watters’ has worked wonders with the list and they matched it with nearly every team this year.

Summary:

C+

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