Watters getting to know AFL Saints
New St Kilda coach Scott Watters admits he is a long way from properly knowing how his AFL side ticks. Watters is a first-time senior coach and he won the Saints job after two years as an assistant at Collingwood.
The Saints will play the Magpies on Friday afternoon in a practice match at Visy Park.
Watters is pleased with his side’s fitness under the new conditioning regime of Peter Burge and they have nearly no injury problems.
But the first-time AFL senior coach said he is a long way from knowing his team well enough.
“We’ve had one full game – that’s the reality,” he said.
“It probably takes you six, seven, eight games – maybe more – to really, intimately, know and understand your players.
“A pre-season is one thing, but playing under stress and against an opposition, you don’t get a better way to analyse your players and your team performance.”
Watters said Collingwood would be an ideal opponent as the Saints wind up their disjointed pre-season campaign.
He had said after last Saturday night’s loss to West Coast in Perth that it almost felt like their first pre-season game.
The previous week, the Wangaratta fiasco meant they missed a match when Essendon had to forfeit.
“It’s fantastic we get to play a quality club and a quality side,” Watters said.
“We need to be under that pressure.
“We faced West Coast last week, who are really progressed in their training as well.
“If we had to pick a side to play, Collingwood on the rebound after a loss, playing a really strong outfit, that’s perfect for us.”
One notable issue for the Saints is reorganising their defence.
They lost Zac Dawson to Fremantle and will not have James Gwilt for a big chunk of the season as he recovers from a knee reconstruction.
Beau Wilkes was recruited from the Eagles and they hope Tom Simpkin, who played two senior games last year, can develop this season.
Watters said Simpkin was among 25-26 players in consideration for their round-one side.
“He needs to perform, he needs to play well tomorrow night, as do 14 or 15 players,” the coach said.
“There’s not a side on the board, stamped, right at the minute.”© AAP 2013