St Kilda put in a comprehensive application to win the wooden spoon in Wagga Wagga.
It’s going to be a long rebuild for the Saints. In both games in the preseason they have failed completely in a quarter to blow the contest out beyond repair, while in the rest of the game they have been dogged but made no impression. With their early draw made up of a lot of teams who will battle them for the spoon, including the Giants, without Jack Steven (DNP, out for several months with a foot fracture) they are going to struggle not to fall multiple games behind all the other contenders.
With Steven out as well as Lenny Hayes suspended for round 1 the Saints are going to need some inside mids, so they will probably have to pick Luke Dunstan (81/63). 15 of his 22 touches were contested leading to an impressive seven clearances and four inside 50s, but a disposal efficiency of 45% is why his SC score is so low. Still, for only 68% TOG the numbers merit a round 1 spot for the #18 pick from last year’s draft. Jack Billings (29/19 on 52% TOG) isn’t ready, so the St Kilda hierarchy will want to give their fans hope even as they get flogged by fellow cellar dwellers early doors by playing the kids.
The Giants don’t have such immediate concerns for survival, and they can afford to hold back top two draft picks Josh Kelly (76/90) and Tom Boyd (DNP, recovering from quad strain). Kelly is far more likely to debut in round 1 but I suspect he will be managed more severely than Lachlan Whitfield (DNP, rested) was in 2013. Whitfield ended up rising a decent amount in price but he took so long to get there with three sub-40 DT scores in the first eight rounds that he ended up being poor value for money. Kelly has a price premium in all formats, and will be first on the chopping block if he doesn’t burst out like Jaeger O’Meara. I don’t think anything like that sort of year is in him.
Jed Lamb (64/64 and kicked 1.4) ghosted in and out of the game but appeared to be temporarily vested to start Q3, suggesting he might cop vests in the regular season too. He’s the sort of player who would. Priced at mid-40s, I’d look elsewhere.
Tom Hickey (46/46, 80% TOG, 27 HO) and Billy Longer (47/54, 88% TOG, 22 HO) outrucked the soloing Shane Mumford (72/72, 70% TOG, 27 HO) but none of them did much on the ground in a blustery day on the open Wagga Wagga ground. There is no question that Aaron Sandilands deserves to be favoured over Hickey at a similar price. Questions should also be asked about Longer’s viability as a bench ruck. Unless they are at base rookie price, I don’t want much to do with the Saints this year, apart from good old reliable Nick Riewoldt (74/96) who will get his numbers like clockwork, especially in SC.
How about you, how many Saints have you got in your side, and do you think they are set for the spoon? How about the Giants, how far can they climb in 2014 and will you pick any of their players for fantasy? Let me know in the comments.