List Manager Stephen Silvagni is confident super boot Arie Schoenmaker will seize his opportunity at senior level with both hands after working his way back through the Coates League following almost three months out of the game.
The 18-year-old Tasmanian defender with a penetrating left leg looked to have had his draft dreams dashed after initially being touted as a much higher selection, however had his fears put aside when the Saints swooped in at pick No. 62 late at the second night of the 2023 AFL Draft.
Although Silvagni admitted he was “a little surprised” Schoenmaker was up for grabs so late in the draft, his “weapon” of a kick would shape as an important asset for the Saints’ future and was deserving of a chance at AFL level.
“We had him fairly highly rated. He’s obviously got a weapon in terms of his kick and you would think he’d be the top two or three kicks in this draft,” Silvagni said at the close of the 2023 AFL Draft.
“With his height at 194cm, he’s got good run and fairly good speed for his size, so we were happy to get him.
“He’s had some adversity early on in the year and had to go back and find some form and prove himself again, so that’s a good sign.
“With kids, you want to see how they handle adversity a little bit and it’s not all smooth for a lot of kids. He’s 18 years of age, we’ve given him a chance and hopefully he takes that chance, because he’s got some talent.”
St Kilda’s draft desire of adding speed to all lines came to pass following the two-night event, with defender Angus Hastie (pick No. 33) and midfielder/forward Hugo Garcia (pick No. 50) joining Schoenmaker after tonight’s proceedings.
The trio follow on from last night’s first-round picks Darcy Wilson (pick No. 18) and Lance Collard (pick No. 28), whose pace and endurance set them apart in their respective positions.
“Obviously we wanted to attack the draft. We’re still building our list and we wanted to bring some young talent through the door,” Silvagni said.
“We feel as though we’ve got some running capacity now. The game’s been going that way for quite some time.
“(Darcy) provides some really good run, some skill and that work rate and athleticism that AFL football really needs. We’re really happy that we were able to get him through the door with our first pick.
“We've brought in some really good athletes into the club who can really run. (Lance) is someone who’s got some freakish ability, he’s good overhead, really good at ground level and can run and carry the ball. Hugo Garcia is another one who has got some really good aerobic capacity, good speed and is a real competitor."
St Kilda will look at the option of bringing in a rookie via tomorrow’s Rookie Draft, which will commence tomorrow at 3:00pm.