It’s an unsurprising “best available player” mantra for List Manager Stephen Silvagni when it comes to who the Saints will swoop on with its two first round picks at next Monday’s AFL Draft, however just who that player will be remains an “exciting” proposition for Silvagni.
While the make-up of the predicted top-10 has been for the most part consolidated following months of analysis from club recruiters and list management teams, it’s what immediately follows on from that – where the Saints currently sit in the draft order –which opens the door up to a number of talented youngsters who could soon call RSEA Park home.
St Kilda holds picks No. 13 and 21 heading into next week’s two-night event, making it the first time the club has held two selections inside the first-round since the 2017 AFL Draft, alongside picks No. 40, 77, 82 and 86.
Speaking on Gettable, Silvagni said there were “enough names up there” for he and the Saints to pick the right player with their opening first-round pick.
“We’re actually trying to work it out at the moment. We’re not too sure what’s happening before our pick 13, so that’s still up in the air,” Silvagni said.
“Other than the first 12-15 players, I think after that anything can happen. Most clubs would have the same top 10 players, maybe top 12 and then it just opens up (after that).
“When you look at that (top 10) group, you’re hoping something will sort of slide through. We’re confident at (pick) 13 that we’re going to get a good player.
“There’s a whole heap of names… whether (Nate) Caddy goes before that, (Connor) O’Sullivan, (James) Leake and (Caleb) Windsor and these type of players, we know what will come through will be a player that’s got a fair bit of talent.
Silvagni, who made his own slice of draft history by engaging in the first live pick swap for Blue-now-Saint Liam Stocker in 2018, said he would be open to and consider trading selections if it opened up further opportunities for the Saints.
“We’re open to do anything really with our picks, whether that’s 13, 21 or some of our back-end picks, you just never know what might slip through to you,” Silvagni said.
“There’s certainly a fair bit of conversation in terms of the swapping of picks, but we’ll just pick the best player available with those two picks (we have currently). The two picks after that we’ll probably look at it probably as a needs-basis.”
In other list news for the Saints, Mason Wood and Liam Stocker have been elevated to the club’s senior list after each joining via the Delisted Free Agency window, while Irish recruit Liam O’Connell was signed as a Category B Rookie on Friday afternoon.
The County Cork Gaelic footballer was first scouted out over the winter, with Silvagni and Talent & Acquisition Manager Graeme Allen travelling to Ireland earlier in the year to witness his skillset and attributes first-hand.
“We’re really excited, he was just named Cork Young Footballer of the Year,” Silvagni said on O’Connell.
“He actually lived in WA for seven years, his mother’s Australian and his father’s an Irishman, he did play Aussie Rules, Auskick and some early junior football.
“He’s already adapted to the footy, he’s kicked the footy over in Ireland for a number of years and he’s just had his first kick out there with a couple of our development coaches now.
“He actually stayed out our place for a couple of days, he’s a great kid, really respectful and we know he’s hard-working.”