Squad Breakdown: St Kilda SC roster analysis

We take an in-depth look at St Kilda's SuperCoach credentials heading into the 2022 AFL season.

AFL Pre Season Squad Breakdown

The Saints now hold the ‘longest premiership drought’ mantle after Melbourne broke through last year, and no doubt they’ll be keen to start making headway towards finals after a pretty disappointing 2021 campaign where they missed the top eight.

Unfortunately, the thing that counts against them when comparing them to the very top sides is that they lack the ‘star power’ of the Dees, Dogs and even Brisbane and Port Adelaide.

Outside of Jack Steele, Rowan Marshall and a still-developing Max King and Jade Gresham, they have very few players with that ‘X-factor’ capable of winning a match off their own boot or carrying the team on their shoulders.

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They do regain a couple of players from long-term injuries, with Gresham (Achilles) and Ben Patton (leg) now available, but have lost a couple as a result of the pre-season games, with Hunter Clark (shoulder) and Jack Billings (hamstring) both likely to miss fortnight of the season.

Nick Coffield has also been cruelly struck down with an ACL injury, and there are question marks on the fitness of Jarryn Geary and Paddy Ryder.

The Saints grabbed exciting prospect Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera with pick 11 in last year’s draft, along with Mitchito Owens (a couple of great names there) in the early 30s, who could both potentially see early debuts if the injury bug continues to linger at Moorabbin.

Best 22 (Injured players omitted)

B: J. Webster, D. Howard, T. Highmore
B. Paton, C. Wilkie, J. Sinclair
D. Hannebery, B. Crouch, B. Hill
J. Higgins, T. Membrey, D. Butler
R. Marshall, M. King, J. Gresham
P. Ryder, J. Steele, Z. Jones
C. Sharman, B. Long, R. Byrnes, J. Battle

EMG: M. Owens, J. Geary, N. Wanganeen-Milera, D. McKenzie

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Top Price Guns

Jack Steele // $685,800 // MID // 2021 Ave: 126.0

The Saints skipper was one of the very top SuperCoach midfielders in the game last year, averaging a whopping 126 points per game and finishing with the second-most points of any player behind Jack Macrae.

A lowest score of 91 points to his consistency, and his ceiling is among the highest in the game – he scored 140+ points in eight games last year making him a safe captaincy option. There has been a bit of talk around if the umpires being hotter on holding the ball free kicks this year will help Steele’s scoring because he’s such a prolific tackler, but personally I don’t think it will see a significant jump in his output (not that he needs the extra points anyway).

This guy is an absolute gun and you can lock him into your side with absolute confidence.

Rowan Marshall // $536,800 // RUCK // 2021 Ave: 98.6

We didn’t see the best of Marshall in 2021, where he managed to play just 13 games and was barely sighted until after St Kilda’s bye round.

What we saw from him post-bye however was pretty good – eight games at an average of 108 PPG saw him as a nice POD for a lot of coaches.

There are two big question marks for me on Marshall heading into 2022, however.

The first one is his body and how will he hold up over the course of a season? He’s had some foot issues in the past and they can be tricky injuries to get on top of.

The second one is how will Paddy Ryder affect Marshall’s output from a SuperCoach perspective?

We’ve seen them work well together in the past, but I would love to see Marshall shoulder more of the ruck load this year (and I think he’ll have to with Ryder getting older).

He hasn’t put a foot wrong in the pre-season and was good against Essendon last week, but I’d prefer to hold off and potentially pick him up as a RUCK-FWD later in the season.

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Brad Crouch // $491,500 // MID // 2021 Ave: 90.3

Crouch was brought across to the Saints as a recruit who would take their midfield to the next level alongside Steele, but to be honest he hasn’t really become the ‘elite’ player the Saints would have hoped for.

From a SuperCoach point of view he’s been consistent enough, averaging 90 across 20 games in 2021.

He’s yet to elevate to a three-figure SC average in any of his career seasons, so for that reason you couldn’t pick him as a classic starter, but in draft he’s a very suitable bench option.

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Bargain Bin Buys

Bradley Hill // $394,900 // DEF // 2021 Ave: 72.5

You’d need to be a brave SuperCoach to pick up Bradley Hill, but you couldn’t have asked for a more promising pre-season.

He collected 28 disposals against the Bombers in the Saints’ pre-season hit out and also took five kick ins, signalling the Saints will use him in that half back distributor role.

The problem is that he’s very, very susceptible to a tag and teams have used this to good effect on him in the past.

The knock on him from a SC point of view as well is that his best SC average across a season is just 84.2.

If you’re participating in a deep draft competition, he might be worth a bench spot, but in classic he’s probably too risky.

Jade Gresham // $299,900 // MID // 2021 Ave: 90.3

Gresham is back from his season-ending Achilles injury of last year and looked very sharp against Essendon last week, collecting 18 disposals and a goal along with attending five centre bounces.

He presents at an awkward price however, when you consider that Stephen Coniglio is nearly $40k cheaper and will likely be a more secure pick.

My concern with Gresham is that, like the Saints as a team, his performances will likely be inconsistent and that could stunt his cash growth over the first 10 weeks of the season.

I’d be very wary of starting him and personally I think the forward line has enough rookies for us to leave him out. I hope he gets a good run at it in 2022.

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Rookie Gems

Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera // $162,300 // MID-DEF // 2021 Ave: N/A

Reportedly one of the silkiest players of last year’s draft, the Saints grabbed Wanganeen-Milera with pick 11 and he has all the bloodlines to be a gun AFL footballer.

His father Terry Milera played a few seasons at the Saints and his uncle Gavin Wanganeen is well known to most AFL fans during his time at Essendon and Port Adelaide which resulted in a Brownlow Medal and two premierships.

Nasiah played the second half against Essendon and did some nice things, but I’m not sure he’s quite up to the level yet and I think ideally he’d hone his craft in the VFL.

Don’t be surprised if the Saints hand him a debut this season, because I think they’ll be keen to get games into him.

Mitch Owens // $117,300 // MID // 2021 Ave: N/A

Owens was another rookie who had a run in the pre-season game against Essendon after injuries to Jack Billings and Hunter Clark, and this might open the door for him to snatch and early season spot in the Saints’ 22.

He attended four centre bounces against Essendon and only had four disposals, but he scored 39 SC points. He could be another handy cheap rookie for us at some stage.

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Jack Hayes // $102,400 // RUCK-FWD // 2021 Ave: N/A

There was talk for weeks that the Saints were all but certain to sign the SANFL gun and they finally got Hayes onto the primary list a couple of weeks ago.

He impressed me in the game against Essendon, playing mostly as a deep forward option and giving Marshall a chop out in the ruck.

He scored 60 SC points and looked like a really promising prospect. They problem is when Paddy Ryder comes back into the team, Hayes probably makes way.

I think he’s definitely someone you could park on your ruck bench, because it’s hard not to see Ryder getting injured at some stage this year and Hayes getting a call up.

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