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The Age

St Kilda

Author: Rohan Connolly
Date: 25/03/2002
Words: 2000
          Publication: The Age
Section: Supplement
Page: 40
2001 STAT: The Saints had the highest conversion rate of regulation shots (69 per cent) and were second in the number of hit-outs per game (37). They managed the lowest number of goals in time-on through the season (89). -- Source: ProWess Video Stats

THE PREDICTION

Robert Walls

9th Young talent combined with (you hope) determined veterans should see the Saints up the ladder.

Dermott Brereton

11th Impressively patient at the recruiting table. Along with some excellent kids, there is now a game plan and possibly a fit Robert Harvey. Also, several coaches privately remarked that Grant Thomas was difficult to coach against last season.

THE CLUB

ST KILDA FOOTBALL CLUB

HOME GROUND Colonial Stadium

POSTAL ADDRESS: PO Box 1034, Moorabbin, Vic 3189

PHONE: (03) 9555 6688

WEBSITE: www.saints.com.au

PRESIDENT Rod Butterss

CHIEF EXECUTIVE Brian Waldron

JOINED THE AFL 1897

PREMIERS 1966

Brownlow medallists Colin Watson (1925), Brian Gleeson (1957), Neil Roberts (1958), Verdun Howell (tied 1959), Ian Stewart (tied 1965; 1966), Ross Smith (1967), Tony Lockett (tied 1987), Robert Harvey (1997, 1998)

2001 BEST AND FAIREST Peter Everitt

2001 LEADING GOALKICER Barry Hall (44)

ARRIVALS

Heath Black (Fremantle)

Trent Knobel (Brisbane)

Chris Oliver (rookie list)

Luke Ball, Xavier Clarke, Nick Dal Santo, Matthew Maguire, Leigh Montagna, Josh Houlihan (draft picks).

DEPARTURES

Barry Hall (Sydney)

Sean Charles, Jason Traianidis, Mark Gale, Robert Powell, Damien Ryan (all retired)

Matthew Young, Tony Delaney, Tim Elliott, Brett Knowles, Ben Walton (delisted).

THE DRAW

Rd 1 v Carlton Sat March 30, CS (H) 2.10pm

Rd 2 v Fremantle Sun April 7, S (A) 3.40pm

Rd 3 v Port Adelaide Sun April 14, CS (H) 2.10pm

Rd 4 v Geelong Sun April 21, B* (A) 2.10pm

Rd 5 v Sydney Sat April 27 (N), CS (H) 7.10pm

Rd 6 v Collingwood Fri May 3 (N), CS (H) 7.45pm

Rd 7 v Melbourne Sun May 12, MCG (A) 2.10pm

Rd 8 v Essendon Sun May 19, CS (A) 2.10pm

Rd 9 v Richmond Sat May 25, CS (H) 7.10pm

Rd 10 v West Coast Sun June 2, CS (H) 2.10pm

Rd 11 v Brisbane Sun June 9, G (A) 1.10pm

Rd 12 v Western Bulldogs Fri June 21 (N), CS (A) 7.45pm

Rd 13 v Hawthorn Sun June 30, CS (H), 2.10pm

Rd 14 v Kangaroos Sun July 7, CS (H) 2.10pm

Rd 15 v Adelaide Sat July 13 (N), FP (A) 7.40pm

Rd 16 v Carlton Sun July 21, CS (A) 2.10pm

Rd 17 v Fremantle Sun July 28, OO (H) 2.10pm

Rd 18 v Port Adelaide Sat August 3 (N), FP (A) 7.40pm

Rd 19 v Geelong Sun August 11, CS (H) 2.10pm

Rd 20 v Sydney Sun August 18, SCG (A) 1.10pm

Rd 21 v Collingwood Sun August 25, MCG (A) 2.10pm

Rd 22 v Melbourne Sat August 31 (N), CS (H) 7.10pm

* B = Baytec Stadium (Kardinia Park)

Nothing that happens to the Saints in 2002 could possibly be any more surprising than the events of the past disastrous year. That in itself should be a bonus for coach Grant Thomas as he attempts to bring, if nothing else, at least a greater sense of unity about the place. A bigger bonus still is the anxiously awaited return from long-term injury of leadership backbone Robert Harvey, Nathan Burke and Stewart Loewe, while Fremantle's Heath Black adds a welcome touch of class. Low finishes and early draft picks have also enabled St Kilda to stockpile a group of talented juniors, the most recent of whom, Luke Ball, should see senior action alongside last year's debutants Justin Koschitzke and Nick Riewoldt. But the Saints have lacked class, application and discipline. Turning that around won't be easy for the AFL's greenest coaching panel. -- Rohan Connolly

THE PLAYERS

29 Steven Baker,

born 22/5/80, 179cm, 82kg, 27 matches, 3 goals

Consolidated his standing as the Saints' best run-with player. Smart but gritty, has improved his ball-getting ability and shapes as key midfielder.

14 Luke Ball,

born 25/5/84, 183cm, 74kg, 0 matches, 0 goals

Outstanding junior talent taken with the second pick in the national draft. Poised and classy midfielder capable of playing senior football this season.

21 Caydn Beetham,

born 11/3/82, 183cm, 86kg, 29 matches, 9 goals

Settled down last season after some early waywardness and played 20 games. Handy midfielder, wins ball well, disposal can be a problem.

22 James Begley,

born 22/7/80, 188cm, 79kg, 23 matches, 3 goals

Finally played some steady football last season after injury-riddled first two years. Saints have been patient with the wing/half-back.

6 Heath Black,

born 28/5/79, 177cm, 80kg, 69 matches, 35 goals

The highly talented midfielder/ forward was a good pick-up, fresh from his best season, finishing runner-up in Fremantle's best-and-fairest.

27 Jason Blake,

born 15/3/81, 189cm, 86kg, 25 matches, 6 goals

Struggled a little in comparison with his debut year, playing only 12 games, but improved as season went on and finished it as a midfield run-with player.

3 Nathan Burke,

born 6/2/70, 180cm, 85kg, 302 matches, 115 goals

Began 2001 in blistering form, and notched his 300th game in round eight. Knee injury ended his season two weeks later.

11 Craig Callaghan,

born 9/3/76, 172cm, 80kg, 112 matches, 93 goals

Enjoyed a solid first season with the Saints, only injury preventing him playing every game. Solid midfielder who is more than handy around goals.

16 Matthew Capuano,

born 2/9/75, 198cm, 99kg, 94 matches, 32 goals

Didn't live up to expectations as the Saints' new No.1 ruck, a mid-season knee injury compounding his form slump.

20 Xavier Clarke,

born 28/9/83, 181cm, 74kg, 0 matches, 0 goals

Skilful midfielder from NT taken at No.5 in the national draft. Played with NT under-18 side last season. Exciting prospect.

18 Jason Cripps,

born 14/10/76, 183cm, 86kg, 40 matches, 8 goals

After three years out with a chronic hamstring injury, the hard-at-it ball-getter made it back last season?for two games before breaking his hand.

26 Nick Dal Santo,

born 22/2/84, 182cm, 71kg, 0 matches, 0 goals

Mid-sized forward, drafted with pick traded for Barry Hall. Bendigo under-18s player, represented Vic Country.

19 Chad Davis,

born 1/6/80, 180cm, 83kg, 22 matches, 12 goals

The son of former premiership Saint Allan Davis fell away last season after a very promising debut in 2000. Keen eye for a goal but needs more consistency.

10 Peter Everitt,

born 3/5/74, 203cm, 102kg, 168 matches, 283 goals

Erratic early in 2001, but settled down to win best-and-fairest. Will miss start of season with a twisted knee.

9 Fraser Gehrig,

born 3/3/76, 195cm, 100kg, 135 matches, 162 goals

Fine first season for Saints, runner-up in best-and-fairest after an interrupted pre-season. Agile key defender with a booming left foot.

2 Aaron Hamill,

born 20/8/77, 184cm, 91kg, 114 matches, 143 goals

Tough initiation for the high-priced Carlton recruit, but Hamill played every game as an undersized key forward and was third in best-and-fairest.

35 Robert Harvey,

born 21/8/71, 181cm, 88kg, 245 matches, 145 goals

Could be the "recruit" of the year for the Saints. The skipper was in blistering form until cut down by a knee injury mid-season.

7 Lenny Hayes,

born 14/1/80, 186cm, 81kg, 51 matches, 20 goals

Skilful forward was making the transition to midfield last season when halted by a shoulder injury, which has also hit his pre-season.

32 Josh Houlihan,

born 12/1/84, 182cm, 70kg, 0 matches, 0 goals

The youngest and allegedly best of the Houlihan clan was drafted at No.49. Like his elder brothers, highly skilled, good goal sense.

8 Max Hudghton,

born 2/9/76, 191cm, 91kg, 102 matches, 7 goals

Hard-working backman had hamstring troubles last season, and is let down by poor disposal, but always sticks to the task.

5 Austinn Jones,

born 28/9/76, 176cm, 80kg, 141 matches, 105 goals

With his career at the crossroads, Jones turned in his best season for several, recapturing some of his old dash from half-back.

33 Trent Knobel,

born 23/5/80, 202cm, 100kg, 13 matches, 0 goals

Talented ruckman couldn't squeeze past Brisbane pair Keating and McDonald, with 13 games over two seasons, but has given Saints cause for optimism.

24 Justin Koschitzke,

born 20/9/82, 196cm, 82kg, 20 matches, 2 goals

Rare bright spot in a sorry 2001, the young key-position player won the Rising Star award with his cool-headed performances. Injury has dogged his pre-season.

23 Stewart Loewe,

born 23/5/68, 194cm, 108kg, 304 matches, 577 goals

Celebrated his 300th game last year with a best-on-ground win, took the club games record, then bowed out with a knee injury. Will return still a formidable marking target for the Saints.

31 Matt Maguire,

born 30/5/84, 190cm, 89kg, 0 matches, 0 goals

Athletic key-position player from Geelong was taken at No.21 in 2001 national draft. Courageous and hard-at-it, Maguire is a strong mark and nice kick.

44 Stephen Milne,

born 8/3/80, 175cm, 77kg, 17 matches, 27 goals

Promoted from rookie list in round four last season with great effect. Kicked 27 goals in

17 games as a lively goalsneak, whose "lip" has already got under opponents' skins.

28 Leigh Montagna,

born 2/11/83, 178cm, 72kg, 0 matches, 0 goals

Quick, skilful wingman drafted from Northern Knights has a cool head but will be given time to develop his light-framed body.

43 Brett Moyle,

born 31/3/80, 180cm, 78kg, 27 matches, 9 goals

The hard-running, ball-winning midfielder missed seven games with a broken leg last season, but back to his best by season's end.

25 Chris Oliver,

born 9/7/82, 195cm, 89kg, 4 matches, 1 goal

Lanky forward/ruckman showed real promise when promoted from rookie list mid-season in 2001 after impressive pre-season and VFL performances.

1 Justin Peckett,

born 5/10/72, 182cm, 83kg, 170 matches, 22 goals

Strong end to 2001 after being dropped twice. Handy runner prone to odd "brain explosion".

17 Justin Plapp,

born 22/6/77, 189cm, 83kg, 43 matches, 29 goals

Has carved out a niche in the back line after arriving as a forward. Despite injuries, 2001 was his most solid season so far.

12 Nick Riewoldt,

born 17/10/82, 193cm, 81kg, 6 matches, 2 goals

Injury kept the versatile big man in shadow of Rising Star-winning fellow draftee Koschitzke last year. Impressed in his six games.

40 Troy Schwarze,

born 23/12/81, 190cm, 84kg, 7 matches, 0 goals

With just seven senior games in three seasons, mainly in defence, must make inroads this year.

4 Andrew Thompson,

born 21/10/72, 180cm, 81kg, 109 matches, 67 goals

Acting skipper for much of 2001, the extra burden having little impact on his possession-winning ability. Finished fourth in the best-and-fairest.

13 Brett Voss,

born 22/2/78, 181cm, 81kg, 54 matches, 22 goals

Looked good early last season before form tailed off. Younger brother of Brownlow winner Michael is skilled, and can provide run out of defence.

30 Daniel Wulf,

born 19/5/80, 188cm, 88kg, 8 matches, 2 goals

Former Western Bulldog played eight games late last season, running hard off a wing. Should play a greater part this season.

ROOKIES

34 Josh Dicketts, born 9/9/83, 193cm, 85kg, 0 matches, 0 goals

37 Chris Jones, born 13/6/83, 190cm, 83kg, 0 matches, 0 goals

36 Ben Schwarze, born 24/8/83, 189cm, 82kg, 0 matches, 0 goals

THE COACH

GRANT THOMAS

Born 14/2/1958

Played: St Kilda (1978-83)

72 games,

21 goals.

North Melbourne (1984)

7 games,

1 goal.

Fitzroy (1985) 4 games, 0 goals.

Total: 83 games, 22 goals.

Coached:

St Kilda (2001 - ) 7 games, 1 win, 6 losses, 14% winning rate.

 
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