Former St Kilda coach Grant Thomas has unloaded on the Saints, calling on the AFL club to “get serious” about breaking their 55-year premiership drought.
The St Kilda Saints finished tenth on the ladder in season 2021.
They had ten wins and 12 losses. Interestingly, they had the same number of wins and losses in their first 11 games as their last 11 games with five wins and six losses in both parts of the season.
They lost all six of their games in the first 11 games by three goals or more. In the last 11 games of the season, five of their six losses were by 13 points or less, which showed that they weren’t far away from playing finals in season 2021.
The Saints only had four players that featured in all 22 games in season 2021. Those four players were Jack Steele, Bradley Hill, Callum Wilkie and Dan Butler.
To be eligible for selection, it’s essential that each player selected featured in at least five games in season 2021. Here are the five players and an honourable mention selected, which the Saints could least afford to lose based on their performances in season 2021.
Honourable mention: Jimmy Webster
Webster was one of the Saints more unheralded players in season 2021. When he was subbed out in due to injury, which was in Round 2 and Round 5, the Saints lost. They also lost the two games he was unavailable in through injury, which was in Round 3 and Round 6. He still finished ninth in the Saints’ best and fairest, despite effectively not featuring in four games due to being subbed out. He had such a consistent season that he finished above Max King in the Saints’ best and fairest.
5. Brad Crouch
Crouch had an extremely consistent season, despite missing the opening two games of season 2021 due to suspension. He averaged the second most disposals of any Saints player and he also averaged the second most contested possessions as well as the second most tackles. That showed that he worked hard when the ball was in the contest and defensively, when their opponents had control of the ball.
4. Rowan Marshall
Marshall was an important part of the Saints as they won eight out of the 13 games that he featured in during season 2021. He averaged the second most contested marks of any Saints player with an average of 2.08 contested marks per game. He is a pivotal part of the team’s structure and the manner in which they play, particularly with Paddy Ryder heading towards the end of his career.
3. Tim Membrey
Membrey was an important player for the Saints in season 2021. He averaged the most score involvements of any Saints player with an average 6.05 score involvements per game, in the 21 games he featured in. He averaged the second most goals of any player for the Saints with an average of 1.62 goals per game. He averaged the third most contested marks with an average of 1.52 marks per game. The fact that he had a good season was vindicated by his third-place finish in the Saints’ best and fairest.
2. Jack Sinclair
Sinclair was a revelation for the Saints as he finished second in their best and fairest, which is an indication that he was extremely consistent, despite missing Round 20 due to injury. He averaged exactly six intercepts per game, which was the second highest average intercepts of any Saints player.
1. Jack Steele
Steele led the team exceptionally well and deserved to be the Saints’ captain in season 2021. He had such a good season in 2021 he was selected on the interchange bench of the AFL All Australian team. He finished equal fifth in the Brownlow Medal of season 2021. He is an elite player of the competition. He was durable as he featured in all 22 games that the Saints played. He finished the Saints’ best and fairest with 234 votes, which was remarkably 79 votes better than the next best.