The fifth part of this six-part series features the five players that the Port Adelaide Power, Richmond Tigers and St Kilda Saints can least afford to lose in season 2021 plus an honourable mention.
Brett Ratten wants to recruit another top-line midfielder for 2021 as St Kilda seek to take the next step towards challenging for the AFL premiership.
The Saints’ first finals series in nine years ended with a 31-point semi-final defeat to Richmond on Friday night.
A gap in overall class and depth was evident as the Tigers’ spread of contributors and lethal finishing proved the difference.
But Ratten believes emerging youngsters Max King, Nick Coffield, Hunter Clark and Ben Paton, among others, can help the Saints develop into genuine contenders in the near future.
Jade Gresham will return from injury next season and Ratten expects more experienced recruits via the trade period, following on from last year’s bumper trade haul.
“We’ll go for a few things through the trade period for a bit more support for players and areas of our team,” Ratten said.
“It would be good to get another midfielder in, that would really help us, and maybe pushing him more into the forward line so we can get some more goal-scoring power as well.”
Ratten warned a tougher draw, courtesy of the Saints’ top-six finish this year, and a heavier weight of expectation will present hurdles in 2021.
“There will be different challenges for us next year but you can’t sit on the fence, you’ve got to put yourself out there,” Ratten said.
“Do you want to be good or do you want to be great? That’s the (question) for players and clubs.
“You can sit there and be comfortable and not expose yourself or have a go.
“You might fail but if you never have a go you never know.
“We need to keep pushing the boundaries and sometimes we will fail but we’ll fail having a crack.”
Ratten said St Kilda only had themselves to blame for the 12.8 (80) to 6.13 (49) defeat to Richmond as poor accuracy in front of goal proved costly.
“Our consistency across the board for four quarters probably wasn’t there,” Ratten said.
“They were a bit stronger around the contest and a little bit more explosive at times and a bit cleaner as well.
“That’s our challenge as a club.”