AFL 3 years ago

Five defining questions ahead of 2016: St Kilda

  • Five defining questions ahead of 2016: St Kilda

For the teams who don’t make the AFL Finals, it can be a frustrating and miserable time waiting for the off-season. There’s the draft to look forward to, the free agency period and the excitement and surprises that occur at the trade table.

Every AFL fan wants their team to improve in 2016. So while we patiently wait for the finals to get underway, here are a few points of interest and key questions your club has to consider in the off-season, as they look towards their 2016 campaign.

Collingwood and Essendon have been analysed and now it's St Kilda's turn. Here are five questions for your club to consider in the off-season.

1 - In: Jake Carlisle, Out: Jack Billings?
The AFL world went into a frenzy last night after Herald Sun journalist Jay Clark reported that Essendon will be going after St Kilda midfielder Jack Billings - if the Saints are interested in landing key defender Jake Carlisle in the trade period.

Essendon recruiting manager Adrian Dodoro is known in the AFL world for his radical negotiating. In fact, just last year, he requested the services of Ollie Wines, Hamish Hartlett or Chad Wingard from Port Adelaide, in exchange for disgruntled ruckman Paddy Ryder.

However, as much as Saints fans wouldn't want to lose the excitement machine that is Billings, if the club is unprepared to part ways with a first round draft pick, Carlisle seemingly won't be at the helm next season.

Jake Carlisle is a key defender who would be the perfect fit for St Kilda's undermanned defensive unit. Luke Delaney and Hugh Goddard need help, and Sam Fisher and Sam Gilbert, although still quality players, aren't the dashing half-backs they were a couple years ago.

On the flip side, Jack Billings, was drafted third overall by the Saints in the 2013 Draft. Billings is a creative, exciting and promising young talent for the Saints. He has played the majority of his first 25 games as a small forward, but will no doubt be a midfield threat for years to come.

Do you part ways with an exciting young player to open up the doors and welcome a proven defensive pillar?

Over to you St Kilda fans... is this a trade your club should explore? 

2 - Should Roo hand over the captaincy reigns to David Armitage?
Nick Riewoldt is captain courageous - always has been, always will be. Riewoldt is one of the most resilient and loyal leaders the AFL has seen in the modern era.

Riewoldt and Leigh Montagna's leadership over the past few years has been first class. At times their old bodies haven't looked like they'll make another week, but their devotion to developing and building the next crop of stars at the club has been selfless, inspiring and incredible leadership.

After ten wonderful years as St Kilda captain, is it time for there to be a new face at the Saints?

Enter David Armitage.

After the 40-man All-Australian squad was announced earlier this week, many were frustrated and shocked that St Kilda midfielder, David Armitage, failed to make the initial 40-man team.

After a breakout season, Armitage led the Saints with his inspiring performances week after week. Here are the numbers - 28 disposals, 4 marks and 6 tackles on average throughout 2015 and he ranked 8th in the competition for Total Effective Disposals; 12th overall for Total Clearances, 9th for Total Disposals and 12th  overall for Total Contested Possessions. If the numbers don't impress you, put simply, Armitage is a big-bodied midfield beast who led a young and inexperienced midfield unit throughout the season.

So should Nick Riewoldt lead the Saints again next year, or is it time for Armitage to take over the captaincy and lead the new era of Saints players into the future?

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3 - Do the Saints go after Harley Bennell?
By now, we all know the situation Harley Bennell finds himself in. He isn't going to be at the Gold Coast next year, and there are a host of clubs that should be looking into obtaining his services for 2016.

Should St Kilda be one of those clubs?

Bennell is a star...on the field. Off the field, we know there is work to be done. But in the right environment with the right attitude, Bennell could finally fulfill his untapped and limitless potential which he has been teasing to us  since the Suns drafted him with the 2nd pick in the 2010 AFL Draft.

The Saints need speed, skills and a bit of flair in their midfield and on the wings. Chris Yarran seems likely to be at North or Richmond next year, whilst Lewis Jetta looks to be on his way back to Western Australia in 2016. Is Harley Bennell the perfect fit for the Saints? Watch some of his highlights reel and you may be swayed. But are his off-field issues too much of a gamble for the Saints who seem to have built a wonderful culture since Alan Richardson took over as coach?

Should Bennell be in the red, black and white next season? 

 4 - What is the next chapter in the Jason Holmes story?

Three AFL games into his professional career and Jason Holmes has the AFL world excited. The former US college basketball player and international rookie prospect for the Saints has had a remarkable journey after being introduced to Aussie Rules only two years ago.

We marveled at his debut performance against the Cats late in the season which led to Saints fans wanting more.

With Tom Hickey and Billy Longer to compete with for St Kilda's ruck duties, will we be seeing more of Jason Holmes in the Saints' senior side in 2016?

What's next for Jason Holmes? What should St Kilda's realistic expectations be of Holmes for 2016? 

5 - Should Ray, Siposs, White, Simpkin and Saad be at the club in 2016? 
At the conclusion of every AFL season, tough and ruthless decisions are made on the careers of AFL players from every 18 clubs.

St Kilda finds themselves with some tough decisions to make in order to freshen up and open up spots on their list. 

Farren Ray wants an extension, but should he be given one? Aaron Siposs and Spencer White have battled injuries, whilst Tom Simpkin and Ahmed Saad can't get a game.

So should these players be at St Kilda in 2016, or is it time to open up some spots for the new bred of Saints coming through?

Five important questions ahead of the Saints. What are your answers?






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