2022 Pocket Profile: St Kilda Saints
It was a disappointing year for the Saints in 2021 overall, both on the footy field and in my SuperCoach team. However, I press on with optimism, as clearly I haven’t learned anything from my 26 years on Earth.
After some big recruiting years it wasn’t a surprise to see the Saints quiet heading into this season, mainly adding to the team through the draft (I’m ignoring the addition of Tom Campbell ($312K RUC/FWD) for my own mental wellbeing).
However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom in 2021, and I think there’s some gold for 2022.
Jack Steele ($685,800K MID)
Jack Steele. Do I need to say more? Probably not, but Lekdog asked me to write this so I probably should.
Steele was the only Saint to average over 100 last season, and he did it with ease, playing 22 games with an average of 126. Yes, he’s pricey, but he was also the second highest scorer in the AFL whether you break it down by average or total points.
Turning 26 heading into this season, Steele is just hitting his prime. He’s proven over the last two years that you can’t tag him – Alan Richardson has actually been the most successful person at slowing the impact of Steele so far in his career.
I wanted to get cute with this pick, but I just couldn’t. Pick Steele and watch the 2022 Brownlow Medallist with joy.
Jade Gresham ($299K MID/FWD)
Honestly, this guy is the first player picked in my team and he should be in yours too. He was a lock when I thought he would be MID only, and I threw away the key when I saw DPP.
Jade Gresham was in my team at the start of last year and delivered early with scores of 82 (28 disposals) and 104 (29 disposals and a goal). Besides Steele, I think Gresh is the team’s best centre bounce midfielder, and he was showing this with great early season form. Sadly for Gresham and the Saints, he got injured in round 3, scoring just 20.
Gresham will be back to 100%, and should he get through pre-season healthy, looks set to once again be deployed in the St Kilda midfield.
In 2018, 2019 and 2020 Gresham averaged 79, 84 and 82 playing mostly in the forward line. This seems like his floor for this season, and his ceiling could be around the 95-100 mark given extra midfield minutes. Priced at under $300K, even if his average remains at 80, he’s still an easy pick.
If he does get legitimate midfield minutes all season, he becomes a potential $299K forward keeper.
Hunter Clark ($401,100 DEF/MID)
Hunter Clark has always shown flashes that he can be a game changer whenever he plays. In 2021, after a hot pre-season, Clark was a popular selection and looked like a good one too. He rattled off a 113 in round one and had five scores over 95 in the first 8 weeks (including two over 110).
Injured two weeks later, Clark never really looked right upon returning, and got injured again (twice) finishing the season with 24 in round 12, 23 in round 13 and 54 in round 20.
If Clark has a solid pre-season, and gets some midfield run, he could be a high upside pick to slot in at D3. However, with high reward comes high risk. He has been put in a number of rolls throughout his career so far, and that can result in a yo-yo of scoring. With Jack Sinclair ($469,700 DEF) and Brad Hill ($394,900 DEF) seemingly set to play off half back, is there enough kicks for Clark as well?
Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera ($162,300 DEF/MID)
Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera looks likely to be the only St Kilda player under $200K with a chance to get a meaningful amount of games. With Hill in the back line, a wing position is there for the taking, and Wanganeen-Milera ticks all the boxes St Kilda need – foot speed and classy ball use going inside 50.
NWM will likely never be a great SuperCoach scorer given what his likely role will be (outside only ball user), but he’s also talented enough, and a good enough ball user, that 14-18 disposals a game should be within reach. If he plays, I could see him providing a solid 70 average.
Brad Crouch ($491,500 MID)
I really struggled to think of anyone to put here, because to tell someone they should avoid a player, they’d have to be thinking about picking them… and there isn’t many other Saints who will be getting picked. I ended up settling on Brad Crouch.
I think Brad Crouch had a decent first year at the Saints, and will have a better one in 2022 as he grows more comfortable in the club. With a 2019 average of 98.4, there may be some people thinking of picking Crouch, hoping he could increase that career best by 3 or 4 and be an M8 keeper.
He may well increase his average to 100 in 2022, but there just isn’t huge upside. Jack Steele is the number one midfield beast at the Saints, and Gresham’s health (plus hopefully Hunter Clark’s development) will limit the amount of clearances and centre bounce stats available to Crouch. I don’t see an avenue where he scores well enough to be a keeper, and at $492K you better be buying a keeper.