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What you missed this off-season

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 29: (L-R) Robbie Young, Jack Bytel and Max King of the Saints look on during the St Kilda Saints media opportunity at RSEA Park on November 29, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Robbie Young (left) waits to speak to the media alongside Jack Bytel (middle) and Max King (right)

It's been a busy off-season at RSEA Park, with several changes made as the club looks ahead to 2019.

Here's a timeline of what you might have missed. 

Ratten, Lade and Allan arrive at the Saints

27 August (Ratten), 28 August (Lade), 26 October (Allan)

St Kilda’s busy off-season period began as soon as Round 23 came to a close, with the Saints acquiring the services of Brett Ratten and Brendon Lade from Hawthorn and Port Adelaide respectively. 

This comes on top of the club appointing a new Head of List Management, James Gallagher, on 2 August. 

In October, Graeme ‘Gubby’ Allan made the move to RSEA Park, joining in an advisory role to strengthen St Kilda’s football program.

Key Saints depart

5 September (Gilbert), 10 October (Hickey), 17 October (Weller)

Stalwart defender Sam Gilbert closed out his career after 208 games for St Kilda, while Tom Hickey found a new home at West Coast and Maverick Weller moved to Richmond following his delisting.

Nathan Freeman, Hugh Goddard, Darren Minchington, Nathan Wright and Ray Connellan were similarly delisted from the club at the end of the season.

Jack Steven wins fourth Trevor Barker Award

19 September

Jack Steven joined Robert Harvey and Bill Cubbins in becoming a four-time recipient of the Trevor Barker Award.

The star midfielder polled 191 votes, pulling ahead of Seb Ross (175) and Jack Steele (134) to claim the respected title.

Steven now sits behind Nick Riewoldt, with the superstar holding onto the club record of six Trevor Barker Awards.

Slater sides with Saints

10 October

St Kilda had already secured the services of Brett Ratten and Brendon Lade, but were set to add another high-profile member to their football program with the signing of Billy Slater.

The former NRL champion played 319 games for the Melbourne Storm and represented Australia on 30 occasions across his revered career.

Slater’s credentials and exceptional team-building skills saw him land a position at the Saints, with the rugby star taking an active role in the Saints’ leadership and development programs.

Hannebery and Kent don the red, white and black

12 October

A quiet trade period was not on the cards for St Kilda in 2018, with Dan Hannebery and Dean Kent committing to the red, white and black in the off-season.

Hannebery’s decorated résumé boasts three All-Australians, a premiership and 208 games with the Swans; his class earning him a five-year deal with the Saints.

@dhannebery has reported for duty two weeks ahead of schedule.

A post shared by St Kilda Football Club (@stkildafc) on

While Kent’s accolades aren’t as lengthy as his counterpart, his damaging speed, physicality and toughness seen across his 63 games for Melbourne will be a valuable asset for St Kilda in 2019.

Young Saints re-sign

15 October (Paton and Clavarino), 16 October (Joyce and Langlands), 18 October (Lonie), 24 October (Longer and Pierce)

The faith in several key youngsters was repaid during the off-season, with St Kilda locking away their services to build towards a prosperous 2019.

Ben Paton and Oscar Clavarino impressed to earn two-year contract extensions, while Darragh Joyce, Doulton Langlands, Billy Longer and Lewis Pierce extended their stays by one year.

The recommitment of Jack Lonie for a further two years was celebrated among the St Kilda faithful, particularly given his electric finish to the season – 11 goals from five matches – which showed what he is capable of.  

Two more years for @_jacklonie? Lock it in! 🔒

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Gears gets married

16 October

While RSEA Park was abuzz with new signings and activity, in Portugal, there was excitement of a different kind.

St Kilda skipper Jarryn Geary tied the knot with his partner, Emma, with the city of Porto host to the couple’s wedding.

Several teammates were in attendance at Jarryn and Emma’s special day, and not surprisingly, scrubbed up quite nicely!

Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Geary! ❤️

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Saints secure China deal

25 October

The international flavour carried over from Jarryn and Emma’s wedding, with the Saints signing a three-year deal to play one game a season in China.

St Kilda replaced Gold Coast in the Shanghai Showdown, with the agreement a landmark event for the club in terms of opportunity and revenue.

Port Adelaide will await St Kilda at Jiangwan Stadium, with the momentous match set to take place on Sunday, 2 June.

We’re heading to China! 🇨🇳

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Marshall elevated to senior list

26 October

After toiling away as part of St Kilda’s rookie list, Rowan Marshall was elevated to senior status after an impressive showing in 2018.

The 23-year-old played 12 matches for the year, with his dominant displays both up forward and in the ruck highlighting his promise as a future star of the red, white and black.

A special start to pre-season

11 November - 26 November

To kick off St Kilda’s arduous pre-season, Ben Long led a company of third-and-fourth-year players up to the Northern Territory and his home in the Tiwi Islands.

The five-day expedition wasn’t the only time the Saints hit the road, with players, coaches and staff dedicating their time to support community partner, Wallara, late last month at Sages Cottage Farm.

The King arrives... and another Jack

22 November

With all eyes on St Kilda at the 2018 National Draft, the Saints selected Max King with their highly valued Pick No. 4.

Despite missing most of the year with a knee injury, Alan Richardson and his coaching panel had faith in selecting the 18-year-old, with the 202cm powerhouse joining the club he had supported since he was a child.

After securing Max King, the Saints acquired several key talents in the second day of the 2018 National Draft, bolstering their midfield stocks with a mix of young and mature-age players.

Jack Bytel, Nick Hind, Matthew Parker and Robbie Young all joined the senior ranks, while Callum Wilkie and Sam Alabakis signed on as rookies, with the latter listed as a Category B recruit.

Jumper numbers revealed

17 December

New year, new numbers.

Pick No. 4 Max King was bestowed the legendary No. 12 from his hero, Nick Riewoldt, symbolic of his status as a future potential star for the Saints.

The No. 12 lives on at St Kilda.

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Recruits Dan Hannebery and Dean Kent received No. 10 and 25 respectively, while the new draftees each received their own new guernseys to establish their own legacies.

Several existing players also changed their numbers, with Nick Coffield moving to No. 1, Rowan Marshall to No. 19 and Ben Paton to No. 33.

Andrew Bassat assumes Presidency

26 October

A lifelong suooirter and co-founder of Seek, Andrew Bassat was officially welcomed as St Kilda's new President at the club's AGM.

He takes the role from Peter Summers, the man who provided stability for St Kilda and was responsible for orchestrating the Saints move back to RSEA Park at Moorabbin.