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St Kilda’s best top 10 picks since 2000

Number one and two draft picks Nick Riewoldt and Justin Koschitzke sit with St Kilda coach and officials after being drafted to St Kilda Football Club at the 2000 AFL national draft in Melbourne on October 29, 2000.
St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt sits at the draft table after the 2000 National Draft.

For the first time since 2001, St Kilda will enter Friday night’s NAB AFL Draft with two picks inside the first 10 selections, in what could be a crucial moment in the Saints' pursuit of an elusive second flag.

Get it right, like Hawthorn did in 2004 when they drafted Jarryd Roughead (No. 2), Lance Franklin (No. 5) and Jordan Lewis (No. 7), and the Saints could add some crucial puzzle pieces to the premiership jigsaw.

While it has been a long time since the club held such a strong position in the first round of the draft, the Saints have acquired some genuine superstars and potential superstars with their top 10 picks since 2000.

In the space of three years at the start of this century, St Kilda recruited Nick Riewoldt (pick No. 1, 2000), Luke Ball (No. 2, 2001) and Brendon Goddard (No. 1, 2002).

The path to the 2017 NAB AFL Draft

Riewoldt, who retired at the end of this season after 336 games and a record haul of six Trevor Barker Awards, burst onto the scene in 2002 and never looked back, establishing himself as one of the premier key forwards of his generation and one of the best players to ever wear the red, white and black.

After finishing off Year 12 in 2002, Ball quickly emerged as one of the toughest midfielders in the competition. In the space of a few years, he won a best and fairest, All-Australian selection and was appointed St Kilda captain, before groin injuries halted his career. He eventually moved to Collingwood where he won a premiership against his old side and squeezed every drop out of his body.

Goddard, who along with Sydney premiership skipper Jarrad McVeigh is the clear standout from his draft class, is still standing after a stunning run of consistency across 15 seasons. He played 205 games in red, white and black before landing at Essendon at the end of 2012.

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In 2006, the Saints not only acquired current skipper, Jarryn Geary, with pick No. 58 in the Rookie Draft, they also recruited Queenslander David Armitage with pick No. 9. The tough inside midfielder missed the majority of 2017, but has established himself as a permanent fixture in the Saints’ engine room for a long time across 152 games.

While it’s a little bit too early to compare Jack Billings to the names above, the 22-year-old smooth mover is on track to be another one of St Kilda’s high draft pick success stories. Billings produced a breakout season in 2017, finishing 5th in the Trevor Barker Award after playing every game and is poised to take another step forward in 2018.

And then there is Paddy McCartin. The young spearhead has endured a frustrating run with injury, but if he can build on his stunning start to the summer, and get a clear run at it, he could be anything.

St Kilda’s best top 10 picks since 2000

1. Nick Riewoldt (No. 1, 2000) – 336 games
2. Brendon Goddard (No. 1, 2002) – 312 games*
3. Luke Ball (No. 2, 2001) – 223 games
4. David Armitage (No. 9, 2006) – 152 games*
5. Jack Billings (No. 3, 2013) – 67 games*