Season 8 AFLW preview: St Kilda

SEASON 7 got off to such a promising start for St Kilda, but after a Round 3 loss to eventual champions Melbourne, the wheels started to fall off a bit for the Saints. They only won one more game for the season to comfortably finish in the bottom half of the table.

However the offseason saw them pick up some big name recruits, so have they found the pieces they need to finally make a tilt at finals?


#1 Molly McDonald
#2 Nicola Stevens
#3 Alice Burke
#4 Deanna Jolliffe
#5 Darcy Guttridge
#6 Tyanna Smith
#7 J’Noemi Anderson
#8 Bianca Jakobsson
#9 Jaimee Lambert
#10 Erin McKinnon
#11 Grace Kelly
#12 Serene Watson
#13 Renee Saulitis
#14 Hannah Priest
#15 Nat Exon
#16 Ella Friend
#17 Stephanie Chiocci
#18 Hannah Stuart
#20 Rebecca Ott
#21 Georgia Patrikios
#22 Ashleigh Richards
#23 Olivia Vesely
#24 Beth Pinchin
#25 Rosie Dillon
#27 Nicola Xenos
#28 Caitlin Matthews
#29 Madeleine Boyd
#30 Jesse Wardlaw
#32 Natalie Plane
#34 Simone Nalder
#36 Jayde Van Dyk *

* inactive


In: Maddie Boyd, Jesse Wardlaw, Natalie Plane, Beth Pinchin, Steph Chiocci Serene Watson, Jaimee Lambert

Out: Jayde Van Dyk (inactive), Lucy Burke, Clara Fitzpatrick, Caitlin Grieser, Jess Matin, Kate Shierlaw, Tarni White


Round 1: vs. North Melbourne @ Blundestone Arena

Round 2: vs. Essendon @ Windy Hill

Round 3: vs. Port Adelaide @ RSEA Park

Round 4: vs. Collingwood @ RSEA Park

Round 5: vs. Western Bulldogs @ Whitten Oval

Round 6: vs. Hawthorn @ RSEA Park

Round 7: vs. GWS @ RSEA Park

Round 8: vs. Fremantle @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval

Round 9: vs. Brisbane @ RSEA Park

Round 10: vs. Carlton @ Ikon Park


  • Offseason recruits
  • Young talent
  • The return of Tyanna Smith

If there was an award for biggest offseason recruiting job, it might just go to the Saints.

Although they lost some big names like Kate Shierlaw, they managed to recruit reigning leading goal kicker Jesse Wardlaw, and added some much needed experience to their midfield in former Magpies Jaimee Lambert and Steph Chiocci.

One thing the Saints really have going for them is the youth on their list, and now that injuries and other hindrances are behind them, can really kickstart their careers and build a platform to springboard future success for the team.

Speaking of that youth, one player whose services the Saints could have really used last year was Tyanna Smith, and now that she is back her injection of pace and talent will be very handy for the Saints this season.


  • Lack of tall defence options
  • Large list turnover
  • Does the game plan work?

One thing that all those offseason changes did leave was a gaping whole in the depth of the Saints’ key defensive stocks. The only key defenders they have on their list now are Bianca Jakobsson and Rebecca Ott, so some teams with a particularly tall forward line – of which there are a few – are going to be tough for the Saints to handle.

There are seven eight new faces in the line up this season, which is heading towards a third of its list. How much of an effect of such a large percentage of the list being new faces – especially since most of them will probably be members of the starting 21 – have on the group dynamic?


Although defenders do not normally get much of a look in when it comes to league best and fairest, when it comes to consistently reliable Saints it is hard to go past Bianca Jakobsson.

The tough no nonsense defender is always cool under pressure and is a crucial cog in the St Kilda defensive set up.


After being forced to spend the last two seasons on the sidelines thanks to an ACL injury suffered in the back end of 2021, Tyanna Smith is primed to explode back onto the AFLW scene. It may take her a few weeks for her to fully get back on her feet, but in no time at all the AFLW will be reminded of how special this talented young star is.


There is no denying the Saints picked up some much needed big names in the offseason. But, there is no certainty that they will be enough without a change of game plan to get the Saints into finals for the first time.

A few extra wins could be on the cards for those from Moorabbin this year, but whether finals are as well remains to be seen.

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