saints.com.au has taken a closer look at some of the numbers to emerge from the JLT Community Series. Who did what against Port Adelaide, Carlton and Sydney?
St Kilda’s evolving engine room put together a strong JLT Community Series, with new recruit Jack Steele, rejuvenated bull David Armitage, highly rated wingman Jack Billings and reigning Trevor Barker Award winner Jack Steven leading the charge.
Across all three games, St Kilda was ranked No. 1 for inside 50 differential (+11.7), clearance differential (+12.7), tackle differential (+19.5) and time in forward half differential (+10:43).
On the back of work from Steele, who averaged 11.5 contested possessions from his two full games, Armitage who averaged 10.0 from his two full games and Luke Dunstan, who accumulated 10 in each of the first two pre-season games, the Saints were ranked No. 2 for contested possession differential (+16.3).
The inclusion of key defenders Jake Carlisle and Nathan Brown has already had an impact with the Saints registering the lowest points against (54.3) of any team during the pre-season competition.
After being ranked No. 13 in this area last season, Alan Richardson’s side will be looking to make similar improvements to what they did at the other end of the ground in 2016, where the Saints leapt from averaging 77.0 points for (No. 13) in 2015 to 88.8 points last year.
In the engine room, Billings found plenty of leather across the last fortnight of the competition, as did former Giants midfielder Steele and versatile defender Dylan Roberton.
Leading ball winners:
1. Jack Billings 24.7 disposals (No. 29 in the AFL)
2. Jack Steven 24.0 disposals (No. 34)
3. Dylan Roberton 22.3 disposals (No. 53)
4. Shane Savage 21.3 disposals (No. 71)
5. Jack Newnes 20.0 disposals (No. 96)
With Billy Longer and Tom Hickey duelling for the No. 1 ruck spot, the pair led St Kilda to the No. 4 ranking for hitouts differential (+13.0) and No. 3 for hitouts to advantage differential (+5.7).
St Kilda’s high pressure game shone brightly throughout February and March, with the Saints ranked No. 1 for pressure factor (1.936) across all three games. Pressure factor measures pressure points (physical and non-physical pressure) divided by each opportunity to apply pressure.
While he found plenty of ball during the JLT Community Series, Steele was equally as impressive without ball in hand. He was ranked equal No. 10 for pressure points per 100 minutes (71.6), while another new midfield recruit, Koby Stevens, was ranked No. 12 (66.2).
And when it came to metres gained, half-back flanker Shane Savage accumulated the 6th most mileage on average (499.9 metres per game), Roberton was ranked 13th (436.8 metres) and Steven finished 16th (417.6 metres).
Star key forward Josh Bruce kicked the 4th most goals across the JLT Community Series with eight majors, seven of which came against Carlton in week two. He finished behind Josh Kennedy (10 goals), Jesse Hogan (nine) and Josh Jenkins (nine).