Head of List Management James Gallagher says St Kilda is satisfied with the outcome of this year's trade period, despite facilitating one deal during the 10-day trade window.
The Saints completed a four-way pick swap with Adelaide, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs on the third day of the trade period, landing pick No. 62, No. 66 and a future fourth-round selection in exchange for pick No. 49.
It comes as a noticeable contrast to the previous two trade periods in which the Saints brought in established names Bradley Hill, Zak Jones, Dougal Howard, Dan Butler and Paddy Ryder in 2020, before adding Brad Crouch and Jack Higgins to the roster the following season.
“The plan was very clear (in that) we were never going to be significant players in the trade period this year,” Gallagher told saints.com.au.
“Our focus has been on retaining our best players, while also positioning ourselves heading into the draft to be equip ourselves to bring talent in there.”
“We know that the majority of our improvement needs to come from within, but we’re confident that with a strong pre-season, we will make valuable progress.”
Among the Saints’ key signings were leaders Jack Billings and Seb Ross, the former penning a four-year deal to tie him to St Kilda until at least the end of 2025.
Max King (four years), Jack Sinclair (three), Tim Membrey (three), Paddy Ryder (one), Dan Butler (one) and mid-season rookie selection Cooper Sharman (two) also inked fresh contract extensions during the year.
St Kilda now has eyes on adding premium young talent to its list through November’s National Draft, with pick No. 9 headlining the club’s picks (9, 62, 66, 67 and 85) for 2021.
Despite potential trade avenues had the Saints’ first-round selection been on the table, Gallagher said trading it away never came into consideration.
“We were never going to forfeit that (first-round pick) and retaining as many picks as we possibly could for next year was a real priority too,” Gallagher said.
“We can also use our future (fourth-round) pick in a trade, bring in more points or a pick, or just use it next year.
“We’ve now got a lot of flexibility on the night to strategically come into the draft if and when we want to.”
St Kilda and North Melbourne were also in discussions to land ruckman Tristan Xerri, with discussions falling through late on Wednesday evening.
“If there was one area of the ground that we were looking to shore up, it was some ruck/key forward support for Ro and Paddy,” Gallagher said.
“We’ve got two very good ruckmen at the moment and we would have liked to have brought in Tristan on the right terms, but they weren’t the right terms. For us, it would have been irresponsible to do that deal.
“He’s a good lad and a good player, but the timing wasn’t quite right. We wish him all the best for 2022 with the Roos.”
The 2021 NAB AFL Draft will be held on Wednesday 24 November.