Business as usual

by Nick Sculley

After yet another tumultuous off-season the Saints have adopted a siege mentality. The St.Kilda versus the world idea has been enforced by coach and captain alike, and to an extent it has acted to deflect any excess attention away from the club.  As a loyal St.Kilda supporter this summer’s indiscretions and controversies don’t exactly worry me. After all, the past few off-seasons have been shrouded in controversy and yet the on-field performances have gone from strength to strength. My only fear is that all rational logic suggests there has to be a breaking point. Thankfully the AFL has shown time and time again that it’s not a rational environment, so it should be business as usual for the Saints in 2011.

To on-field matters, the recruitment of Ryan Gamble should prove a masterstroke. He showed glimpses of his ability whilst at Geelong but his form was sporadic; in one of the strongest teams in history inconsistent form equated to time spent in the reserves. Gamble will be a great foil for Nick Riewoldt up forward, and the Saints are hoping he will indeed be the medium-sized goalkicker they’ve been craving.

Among the draftees, Jamie Cripps and Tom Simpkin ooze class, whilst overall this year’s young crop looks likely to provide devastating leg-speed, something the modern-day Saints have lacked severely. Conversely the drafting of Dean Polo perpetuates the Saints recent fascination with picking up Richmond rejects. From Adam Pattinson to Aaron Fiora, and even dating back to Justin Plapp, St.Kilda have left their fans mystified with this apparent  obsession with trying to recycle ex-Tigers. Admittedly Fiora was a former number three draft pick and was perhaps afforded more leeway by the fans, but all three have ultimately been flops. Personally I have watched very few Richmond games in recent seasons; however one of those was a certain Dreamtime clash when Polo was named best-on-ground, so perhaps I should reserve my judgement until a later date.

The doomsayers are at it again in the lead-up to this season, claiming the Saints have eked out all that they can from their list and that a downward slide is inevitable. However their logic is intermittently flawed; who could have predicted the Saints would be a bounce of the ball away from being premiers even after having Nick Riewoldt out for more than two months during the home-and-away season? Other players were forced to step up, and this year the side as a whole will be better off. The side haven’t lost anything, and have gained a potential 40+ goal kicker in Ryan Gamble along with a number of hot prospects. Evidently the Pies are flag favourites this season, but like every side they’re a few injuries away from being vulnerable.  Write the Saints off at your peril.


  1. John Butler says

    Nick, the Saints are certainly a more durable organisation than the mob I watched in the 80’s.

    Any one of their recent mishaps could have derailed the cause in the past, let alone the whole combination.

    With a younger list than the Cats, I suspect they’ll hold up better, though to suggest a Geelong slide on this sight is close to heresy.

    I don’t think the Pies are such a sure thing, so the chance is still alive.

  2. Welcome to the Almanac from another Sainter tragic. From your lips to gods ears. We still have Brendon Goddard who is magic and has such a drive and he’s one to watch out for this year, plus those you’ve listed, plus, as they said at the Family Day in 2010, the window is still open and we’re in it. So they are hurting even more than the supporters and hopefully they will use that for the year ahead. One thing that cheered me up was hearing that one of the other teams won a premiership after two grandfinal losses the years before, so it has been done. Meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy one game at a time and try and be a bit more Zen.

    Bring it on

  3. A Zen Saint Yvette? Surely a clash of Budhlical proportions…

Leave a Comment