About St Kilda’s Trades and My Hope to the Future for the Saints

Just before becoming more passionate St Kilda fan in the end of 2012, Brendon Goddard crossed to Essendon as a free agent, and Nick Dal Santo left St Kilda also as a free agent in the end of 2013 to North Melbourne. Also St Kilda traded a young ruck man Ben McEvoy who had been thought to be a captain in the future to Hawthorn in the end of last year, and this month Rhys Stanley to Geelong.

I was shocked with two trades because they are tall and young so they have long way to play for St Kilda. McEvoy is good for a ruckman and I am impressed with how Stanley played at my favourite Round 18 Game against Fremantle.

In July this year, former St Kilda coach Scott Watters had an exclusive interview with Channel 9’s Sunday Footy Show. Watters revealed that he had no responsibility to negotiate with Goddard or Dal Santo to stay at St Kilda or leave, or to make a decision on McEvoy.

Instead Chris Pelchen, former head of Football Department who resigned the club on Tuesday had all responsibilities to deal with these players and let Goddard, Dal Santo and McEvoy to go.

When I heard about communication issues and fall out between Watters and Pelchen last year, I had strong thought that Pelchen wanted someone (a coach) who just listened to him.

Recently I found articles on afl.com.au relevant to Pelchen when I was searching sources for my second article for Footy Almanac. One of them paid attention to me.

The article is information of what Pelchen has done at the footy industry including for other AFL clubs. As a junior recruiter at Hawthorn, Pelchen warned the club board that the great era would not last for years that were ignored.

Then he gained more experience in the footy industry at Port Adelaide and back at Hawthorn and worked with succeeded football people including three-time Premiership coach Alastair Clarkson. Pelchen had successful career at these two clubs and joined St Kilda in 2011.

Nowadays clubs try to hire experienced and succeed people to widen an opportunity to win a premiership. Coaches are those of them. Former coach Ross Lyon was an assistant coach at Sydney Swans in 2005 when the Swan won the flag as well as was Watters at Collingwood in 2010.

However I have to point out that Pelchen made mistakes on managing play list at St Kilda. Sadly his success at Hawthorn including using analytics to project how many A, B, C-rated players the Hawks would need to win a premiership seemed not deliver to St Kilda. I believe that he could have kept Goddard, Dal Santo, McEvoy and Stanley at St Kilda if Pelchen used such analysing skills.

On the other hand, Pelchen was the one of the main people at St Kilda convincing to host games in Wellington. It is a good decision that I admire (and it made me to support St KIlda) and I reckon he reinformed the idea to play in Wellington from the past experience at Hawthorn. I have heard that St Kilda would take Carlton to an Anzac Day clash in Wellington next year. It will be a great game for us. I will write another article soon showing how much I am excited to see the big game in my favourite Wellington.

Oh well. We cannot bring the past back. I hope the St Kilda don’t make mistakes any more on selecting players to rebuild the club. We are a club with young play list at this stage and need to develop young players. But years later when these blokes are experienced players, the club should keep them not only to perform well but also to mentor younger players. Meanwhile the club needs to encourage young players to keep faith and loyalty.

The big boss who set the strategy to win the flag by 2020 has gone, but other staff including incoming people as well as players and coaches will work hard to achieve, I do hope as a Saint fan. All I want to see is bright future and Saints going marching in.


About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Love, passion and pride are seen on the footy that is the biggest part of my life. 1. St Kilda Club member: I am a passionate and crazy Sainter. Just hope we will win the second flag soon, especially after Dogs and Tigers having ended long premiership draughts. 2. The Osaka Dingoes Player and Public Relations Officer: Player number 44 that I chose to honour Stephen Milne with my wish being like a small forward like him. Lenny Hayes' hardworking attitudes are adopted on my trainings and practices. Nick Riewoldt's great plays are in my player audiobook too. 3. Writing: Here on the Almanac and also on the World Footy News. My skills utilise on great footy websites.


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Hi again Yoshi,
    I think they let Stanley and McEvoy go because they want all our players to be in their early 20’s and grow up together, and improve together. McEvoy will peak in the next few years, and Stanley also, but the others will take 3-4 years and hopefully the whole team will rise to the top, like the team of 2009/2010 BUT with a Premiership this time.

    If you look at who they kept, it is people like Riewoldt and Montagna and Ray who are very experienced and who we know will retired in the next 2-3 years, but they are there now to teach and help the young players like Harvey and Loewe etc were in the early 2000’s. St.Kilda has kept these very good, experienced players and let some others who were less consistent go. Lenny was very clear that his role in the last few years was to develop the next group of players to take over, and when he gave his No 7 to Luke Dunstan, it was because he is predicted to be an elite midfielder.

    We just have to wait and see.

    Go Saints


  2. Hi Yvette,

    Thanks for your comment and expressing your point of view. Seeing what happened with now veteran players when they were young is good. They are good leaders of the Saints and I wish young players will keep veterans’ spirits for the future and will play the Grand Final. Indeed the next time, we will win the flag.

    Meanwhile, we need to be patient, I agree with you.

    Go the Saints!


  3. Yoshi – thanks for your Saints insight.

    In the era of free agents, we really didn’t have a lot of choice around Dal and BJ. Sad to see these champs move on, but that is the way of the AFL now – look at Beams, Ryder etc in recent weeks.

    I think time will tell on the McEvoy and Rhys trades. We got Dunstan who will be a gun as you say by means of Ben leaving. I was sorry to see Rhys go, and he was brilliant in the Freo game, but that was one game out of 58 he has played. He is a bit of a highlights reel sort of guy.

    I do think the Hawthorn comparisons circa 2004 are valid. Patience and discipline will pay off for the Saints.

  4. hi Yoshi

    I just found you are saints Supporter and really admire that .

    My gut feeling is 2017-2020 will belongs to us

  5. Hi Guru Gus and PrazAU,

    Thanks for your comments and positive thinking about the Saints :)

    Guru Gus, your point of view is understandable. BJ says that players have the right to choose which club to play for. It’s important. But I agree with Carlton coach Mick Malthouse that free agent is disadvantage for some clubs.

    I admit that I missed your point about Dunstan. Hawthorn is now powerhouse and I hope that the Saints will be a strong club by 2018 at least. We need to parient for a while.

    PrazAU, thanks for your compliment on being a St Kilda fan :) Yes, we will be the strong side in three to four years. Let’s keep loyalty to mighty Saints!

  6. Funny how someone in Japan can see what is happening compared to some who actually run clubs. As a passionate saints supporter for over 50 years, there are some things that rile me, others that amuse me and still others I find downright ludicrous, but being outside the inner sanctum I do not profess to know why some things happen. Hopefully I will still be a passionate saints supporter for another 50 (doubtful) years and will see success arrive. If not my daughter and grandson will carry on the tradition, and it was their choice not mine. So Yoshi, welcome, to a club that sees a lot of heartbreak, but also sees a lot of hope, strength, and a great love of this magnificent football club. May you enjoy many years of the ups and downs as I have.

  7. Hi saint66,

    Thank you for your warm welcoming to the Saints and compliment on what I have been doing. After the 2013 season, I was so curious about rumours around our club and indeed kept up with news. Then Scott Watters was sacked. I was shocked to hear that news because I learned that Watters was warm and welcomed to young players that was opposed to Ross Lyon. Then I wondered what had been happening to St Kilda Football Club. I agree with you that all footy fans must face up and down sides, not matter who we barrack for. I accept the fact, but do have a big hope that the second flag is delivering to the Saints soon. I admire you for being loyal to the Saints for 50 years and as I have been saying, I’m very glad to see passionate St Kilda fans.

    Cheers and Go the Saints!


  8. George LILLEY says

    wow great analysis Yoshi. I enjoy your articles.

  9. Hi George, thanks for reading my articles and compliment on my analysis. Great readers’ encouragements bring me motivation to writing articles :)


  10. Keiran Croker says

    Hi Yoshi,
    I’m a Sydney Swans supporter, however I am always impressed when someone finds our great game and becomes a passionate supporter. May your Saints give you many years of joy. I hope they rise up the ladder soon, however I fear their recent trade decisions have set them back a few years.
    Good luck.

  11. Hi Keiran,

    Thanks for your comment and I’m glad that we can share our thoughts and passions of footy on this great community website. It’s sad that your beloved Swans missed the flag this year… But the Swans are doing well, I admire. Thanks for your hope on the Saints and yes, recent trades set the clock back to rebuild. However I hope young players reinforce strong culture and loyalty to rebuild the club. Our veteran players Nick Riewoldt and Leigh Montagna and retired Lenny Hayes have gone thorough tough paths and climbed up to the great position in 2009-10, but couldn’t win a flag. I hope Riewoldt and Montagna teach young blokes how to be strong before they retire and then young blokes form great leaderships.

    Enjoy your footy mate.


  12. Football Analyst says

    Yoshi, very interesting to come across this article nearly 7 years after you wrote it.

    I think everyone of us is wiser after hindsight.

    I think Chris Pelchen was exactly the type of person St Kilda needed at the time, to go through St Kilda’s list and rebuild the club.

    Stanley had to go. He was underperforming with St Kilda at the time and.could never find his feet at St Kilda in the forward line. The great Nick Riewoldt said he and others spent countless hours trying to get the best out of Stanley but unfortunately he just didn’t have it at St Kilda. He was never tried as a ruckman only at St Kilda but he never did much when he was used as a pinch hit ruckman. St Kilda ended up with pick 22 from Geelong for Rhys Stanley. St Kilda used that pick on Jade Gresham, a very wise choice indeed. Let’s hope Gresham has a better run with injury, as touch wood, he will be like a new recruit for the Saints next year, after 2 injury interrupted seasons. Perhaps, he can revisit his mentor Brent Harvey as to the secret of looking after his body and playing many consecutive games.

    Goddard and Dal Santo were not playing consistently well for St Kilda after the grand final losses in 2009 and 2010. To me, it appeared they were going through the motions as St Kilda’s premiership window had unfortunately come to an end, especially in the 2nd season under the coaching of Scott Watters. The compensation picks St Kilda used trading Dal Santo and Goddard didn’t serve them well in the long term, although it could be argued that Tom Hickey was useful for St Kilda from 2013-2018, but Tom Lee did not work out as a full forward, under Scott Watters and Alan Richardson.

    McEvoy was always the one that I regretted St Kilda parting ways with, as I thought he was a terrific player for St Kilda and still young at age 24, at the time he was traded to Hawthorn. Strangely, St Kilda has done well enough from that trade because Shane Savage provided several good years of service before being delisted. Luke Dunstan was also part of the deal and has now recaptured the form that he was showing earlier in his career. St Kilda also got Hawthorn’s compensation pick for Buddy Franklin, which they used to get Blake Acres, who unfortunately didn’t deliver consistently. At least Acres covered a lot territory, as he is back home with Fremantle.

    Unfortunately, St Kilda could not get the big free agent that Pelchen thought would deliver them the flag by 2020. They tried for Nat Fyfe and others but could not get them.

    As alluded to do before, with the benefit of hindsight, had St Kilda picked Petracca instead of McCartin and Bontempelli instead of Billings, the Saints may have had their 2nd flag already. Also as Mark Fine mentioned on SEN many years ago, perhaps St Kilda’s biggest mistake of all time was not selecting Chris Judd over Luke Ball. Yoshi, how many flags would St Kilda have won with Chris Judd?

    Anyway, let’s hope that St Kilda can still win their long awaited 2nd flag in the next few years by recruiting another good midfielder in the mould of Quinton Narkle from Geelong, a good centre half back as Carlisle is coming to the end, unless Battle, who has performed well there in the past, goes back there permanently. Also, with Paddy Ryder getting to the end as far as his age is concerned, another good ruckman to help Marshall is required.

    If any team deserves a 2nd flag, it’s St Kilda after only 1 flag in 124 years in the AFL/VFL.

  13. Thanks for your insight, Football Analyst.

    Even there is a Herald Sun article about recruiting crisis (regret) at the club. As for Billings vs Bontempelli, the former was rated higher than the current Bulldogs skipper. Then we just went Billings. I think we need better and stronger development programs. He’s 25 now but I reckon his time has not come yet. His peers, Dunstan and Sinclair are breaking out this year.

    Even the paper featured about Hunter Clark and Nick Coffield over Aaron Naughton. What is the point? Both defenders are doing so well. Why do Clark and Coffield need to be compared with the young Bulldogs forward?

    We have recruited good players recently but I think Dab Butler needs to work harder. Getting Higgins is good!

    2021 is unlucky because of too many injuries.


    PS: I am not sure Luke Ball on Chris Judd. The former Carlton skipper was good but Josh Kennedy of the Eagles is far better.

  14. Football Analyst says

    No worries, Yoshi. Completely agree about your comment regarding Dan Butler. He was a very good player last year at St Kilda with his pace and goal kicking ability, when the ball hit the ground in the forward line. However this year, St Kilda need better service from Butler. Hopefully, Butler can recapture the form of 2020, when he was in the original All Australian squad.

    I also agree about Higgins, who is basically doing what Butler did last year, even if he has been a bit inaccurate in his set shot kicking for goal. He takes more marks than Butler and is a good mark for his size.

    I have been happy with the other players that were recently traded to St Kilda in the past few years including:
    1) Brad Crouch – consistently gets many possessions in the centre and has been described as a ball magnet
    2) Paddy Ryder – a very capable ruckman who often taps the ball to a St Kilda player
    3) Dougl Howard – a very good full back who reads the play ball and who usually stops his opponent from kicking multiple goals
    4) Zak Jones – a very speedy midfielder who wins the ball well, giving St Kilda first use of the ball, even if he’s been injury prone and hasn’t the best disposal
    5) Brad Hill – very fast, a good outside runner, who generally uses the ball well. Like Billings, we’re yet to see his best consistently, but I have faith that Brad Hill will come good.

    The future does look bright for St Kilda. As you mentioned before, every team needs luck with no injuries to their best players, especially at the business end of the year, if not the beginning of the year, and during the year. Depth is very important but in St Kilda’s case, their depth for this year in Sean McKernan and James Frawley got injured too. Bring on 2022.

  15. Football Analyst says

    You’re spot on Yoshi about the Herald Sun article having a go at St Kilda for not having picked the likes of Petracca, Bontompelli, and Naughton, ahead of McCartin, Petracca and Coffield or Hunter Clark.

    Where were these critics at the time these drafts were held? You don’t really know until years after the event and it’s very easy for anyone to take a cheap shot at St Kilda’s recruiting.

    I would like to see how these critics would go if they were paid to be St Kilda’s List Manager. In hindsight, should St Kilda have taken Petracca, Bontompelli and Naughton? Of course, from what we know now, but who had a crystal ball to see what was going to eventuate. Maybe Nostradamus!

    It all goes back to what the team needs the most at the time. St Kilda desperately needed a good goalsneek after Stephen Milne had retired, which was why St Kilda picked Billings ahead of Bontompelli. Billings was also a handy midfielder at underage level, as in the last TAC Cup game of the year before St Kilda drafted him, Billings went into the midfield and had 16 possessions in just over a quarter playing against Matt Crouch from Adelaide, who also played well that day. As you mentioned, Billings was rated higher than Bontompelli back then because Billings was a 2 time Under 18 All-Australian after making the team as an underage player. Unfortunately, no one could have foreseen back then that Bontompelli would turn out to be a better AFL player than Billings.

    As far as Paddy McCartin was concerned, many football experts had mentioned that Petracca was the best player in the draft. Champion tall key forwards are harder to find than champion midfielders. Once again, St Kilda went for their needs, which was to get a champion tall key forward, especially as Nick Riewoldt was nearing the end of his football career. Petracca actually did his knee and was out for a whole year at the start of his career. Although St Kilda knew that Paddy McCartin was diabetic like the great Tony Lockett, once again no one could have foreseen that McCartin would get numerous concussions, eventually meaning that he could no longer play at the highest level for St Kilda. I hope Paddy has better luck with concussions at Sydney’s VFL team.

    As far as Hunter Clark and Nick Coffield are concerned, St Kilda went for their needs at the time, which was midfield depth for Hunter Clark and a tall backman in Coffield, as Nathan Brown was nearing the end back then. St Kilda were well off for tall key forwards at the time with McCartin, Membrey and Bruce. Naughton therefore was not required and don’t forget that Naughton came to the Western Bulldogs as a key defender anyway.

    What have we learnt? It takes a lot of good fortune for your high draft picks to meet your expectations. To win flags, a List Manager must choose what type of player the club needs the most to rise up the ladder, not always the best available player in the draft, even if it proves otherwise. It’s not an easy job as List Managers are just as important as the coaches.

    I’m surprised that the critics have not mentioned yet anyway that St Kilda should have chosen Max King’s twin brother Ben King, ahead of Max King. Ben King currently has kicked more goals and kicked more accurately than Max King and played more games. Hopefully, Max King will turn out to be as good a player, if not better, than Ben King. I don’t think that St Kilda should make a play to get Ben King from the Gold Coast because St Kilda would have to give up too much now to get him. Also, as mentioned previously, St Kilda’s needs should be more focused on getting a good centre half back, as Battle has now been dropped and Carlisle with a long term back injury, as well as another quick midfielder with Gresham and Jones injury prone and a good backup ruckman for Marshall, should Ryder retire soon and with McKernan who is injured and Hunter, who has been out of favour.

    Yoshi, St Kilda supporters can only hope that their List Manager continues to make the right selections in the best interests of St Kilda and what happens to these players in the future will be in the lap of the gods, with Paddy McCartin’s concussions being the prime example.

Leave a Comment