TO say Season 6 was a difficult one for St Kilda would be an understatement. Losing two of their brightest young stars in Georgia Patrikios and Tyanna Smith before the season even began, compounded with a number of near misses and scoring issues meant that the Saints ultimately finished second to last. But with some new faces and a new season just around the corner, will things turn around for the Saints in season 7?
Best & Fairest: Bianca Jakobsson
Leading Goalkicker: Nicola Xenos
IN: Erin McKinnon (GWS), Nicola Stevens (Carlton), Clara Fitzpatrick (Ireland), Grace Kelly (West Coast), Simone Nalder (Essendon VFLW), J’Noemi Anderson (St Mary’s NTFLW), Hannah Stuart (Southern Saints), Deanna Jolliffe (Southern Saints), Caitlin Matthews (Oakleigh Chargers)
OUT: Tilly Lucas-Rodd (Hawthorn), Catherine Phillips (Essendon), Jacqui Vogt (Essendon), Alana Woodward (delisted), Tahlia Meyer (delisted), Paige Price (delisted), Kate McCarthy (Hawthorn), Isabella Shannon (stepping away), Rhi Watt (Melbourne)
Jnoemi Anderson Alice Burke Lucy Burke Rosie Dillon Nat Exon Clara Fitzpatrick Ella Friend Caitlin Greiser Darcy Guttridge Bianca Jakobsson Deanna Jolliffe Grace Kelly Jessica Matin Caitlin Matthews Molly McDonald Erin Mckinnon Simone Nalder Rebecca Ott Georgia Patrikios Hannah Priest Ashleigh Richards Renee Saulitis Kate Shierlaw Tyanna Smith* Nicola Stevens Hannah Stuart Jayde Van Dyk Olivia Vesely Tarni White Nicola Xenos
Inactive: Leah Cutting (work commitments)
Round 1: @ Sydney | North Sydney Oval
Round 2: @ Hawthorn | Box Hill City Oval
Round 3: vs. Melbourne | RSEA Park
Round 4: @ Gold Coast | Great Barrier Reef Arena
Round 5: @ Geelong | GMHBA Stadium
Round 6: vs. Collingwood | RSEA Park
Round 7: vs. Carlton | RSEA Park
Round 8: @ Western Bulldogs | Mars Stadium
Round 9: vs. Port Adelaide | RSEA Park
Round 10: vs. Adelaide | RSEA Park
B: Bianca Jakobsson – Rebecca Ott
HB: Alice Burke – Jayde Van Dyk – Hannah Priest
C: Molly McDonald – Tarni White – Darcy Guttridge
HF: Nicola Xenos – Kate Shierlaw – Nicola Stevens
F: Caitlin Greiser – Jess Matin
R: Erin McKinnon – Georgia Patrikios – Olivia Vesely
INT: Ella Friend – Renee Saulitis – Rosie Dillon – Hannah Stuart – Grace Kelly
EMG: Ashleigh Richards – Nat Exon – Lucy Burke
Remaining players: J’Noemi Anderson, Clara Fitzpatrick, Deanna Jolliffe, Caitlin Matthews, Simone Nalder, Tyanna Smith*
Inactive: Leah Cutting (work commitments)
LEAGUE B&F CONTENDER: Bianca Jakobsson
Now some may see this as a slightly left of field choice, but Jakobsson’s star continues to shine brighter with every season. She is the reigning club best and fairest, and with others leaving the club at the end of last season, she has less team mates that are likely to pinch votes off her in the count.
BIG YEAR FOR: Caitlin Greiser
Season 7 is an all-new season, and the perfect chance for Greiser to prove why she is so valuable to that Saints forward line. She has the strong marking capability the Saints need down there, she just needs the consistent game time to be able to prove that.
KEY TALKING POINTS:
How will they fix the scoring issues?
From what the Saints showed in their practise match against Brisbane, it appears they still have not fixed the forward 50 entry and scoring issues that plagued the side last season. It is true that they were missing Greiser in that particular match, but regardless this is an issue they need to fix fast if they want to be a contender this season.
How will Georgia Patrikios go this season and will we see Tyanna Smith back?
One of the big positives of the offseason for the Saints was that they were able to get Georgia Patrikios back on the senior list after being forced to put her on the inactive list for season 6. With so much time out of the game, how will that affect her return to the game?
Also in an interesting move by the Saints, Tyanna Smith is not on the inactive list despite still recovering from an ACL injury, so is there a chance she will make a shock comeback this season?
Is Nick Dal Santo at a crossroads?
One of the more controversial coaching appointments of the AFLW’s history was Nick Dal Santo at St Kilda, who took over last year after Peta Searle left. He has now had a season to find his feet, now Season 7 he needs to prove himself as a coach and the doubters wrong and get St Kilda on the rise again, or there are going to be questions.
Will Clara Fitzpatrick be able to slot right back in?
After a few seasons out of the game, Irishwoman Clara Fitzpatrick is back at the Saints, and no doubt ready to continue from where she left off. The question is can she find her rhythm in Aussie Rules straight away after a few years of not playing?