Saints recruit receives big AFL wrap
New St Kilda coach Scott Watters has paid AFL draftee Jack Newnes a massive compliment, comparing him to star midfielder Lenny Hayes.
The Saints picked up the 18-year-old midfielder with the No.37 pick in last month’s national draft and Watters is already impressed with his leadership potential.
Hayes is revered at St Kilda as one of their key leaders.
“In many ways, he’s probably been the most impressive in the week that we’ve had,” Watters said of Newnes.
“He was likened to have Lenny Hayes-type leadership qualities prior to the draft and he’s done nothing to disappoint in that area.
“(He’s a) quiet kid, but really studious in the way he’s attacking our game plan, a beautiful kick of the footy.”
Newnes was within earshot of Watters when the coach made that comment at a Tuesday morning media conference.
“I was pretty rapt to hear that … I guess I have to try to live up to that now and be a leader, even though I’m new to the club,” Newnes said.
He was among six players who the Saints recruited through the November 24 draft.
Tall utility Beau Wilkes has another shot at the AFL after several years at West Coast and this season in the WAFL.
Midfielder Seb Ross, forward Daniel Markworth, defender Jimmy Webster and ruckman Jay Lever are all at their first AFL club.
Apart from Lever, who is 198cm but only 83kg, Watters said all the newcomers would probably have senior opportunities next year if they earned the chance.
“Once you’re on an AFL list, I’m not interested in your birth certificate,” Watters said.
“There is a reality of getting yourself physically prepared – it wouldn’t surprise me if a Seb Ross or Jack Newnes does jump up and press.”
Of the better-known Saints, Nick Dal Santo has nearly recovered from a hand injury and Brendon Goddard is back training after off-season surgery.
Captain Nick Riewoldt is having a break after a knee operation and will return after Christmas.
Watters is a first-time senior coach and he is pleased with how the Saints are taking to his ideas.
One innovation was apparent after Tuesday morning’s training session at St Kilda beach.
As they completed a swim in the bay, the players gathered in a circle to discuss how the workout had gone.
Watters has them using the circle before and after training to help with goal-setting.
“It is about maximising every minute – we want a minute-by-minute culture at our club where we’re taking every opportunity,” Watters said.
“That just gives them an opportunity to set goals and re-set goals.”© AAP 2013