With the rumour mill in full swing and several high-profile players on the market, Head of List Management James Gallagher took to AFL Trade Radio to break down the Saints' plans heading into Season 2021.
While St Kilda won't be as active compared to last year's blockbuster haul, there are still a handful of players on the radar to bolster the club's young list and continue its march towards another finals campaign.
Here's what James Gallagher had to say from this morning's interview on AFL Trade Radio, brought to you by CMC Markets.
"I'm not sure what the compensation will look like for the Crows. We've put what we think is a really fair deal to Brad, taking all things into consideration.
"We're still sort of working through the finer points of that with his management over the course of the next few days as we head into free agency.
“I think you’ll get a reasonable idea on what the deal looks like when the compensation is announced shortly after we lodge with the AFL, which I think the timeframe for that opens at the end of this week.
“It’s still in the process of us discussing with Brad’s management, making sure we come up with a deal that is beneficial for all parties and being a restricted free agent, Adelaide have got the option of matching and keeping Brad or going into a trade scenario, so it’s probably a bit too early to talk about those specifics."
Adding forward support
“We were so impressed with Kingy in basically his first year of AFL and we see a big future for Max. We love having him at our footy club and we’re going to invest really heavily in Max over the next hopefully 10, 12, 15 years.
“But I reckon we are a little bit exposed if we get the wrong injury in the wrong spot, and that’s not necessarily just to Max. Our team worked pretty well this year when we had the two tall forwards with Tim (Membrey) as well playing as the other marking forward, so we just don’t want to be compromised with our structure if we get the wrong injury in the wrong position.
“It’s not an area of the ground that we’re going to throw a lot of assets and money in and those sort of things. That’s not to be disrespectful to anyone that we may bring in, but we think we’ve got our No. 1 forward for a number of years and it’s an area that we just need some more support in I reckon."
Shaun McKernan and Ben Brown
“(Shaun is) one of a few (we’re interested in). He’s obviously finished up at Essendon. There’s a few marking forward sort of types that are either out of contract or finishing up at their current clubs, and we’ve made a number of phone calls to their managers over the past few weeks.
“I’m not going to rule anyone in or out at the moment (when it comes to Ben Brown), it’s still pretty early days. But we’ve got a guy in Max King that we think is going to be our No. 1 key forward for a long time to come, and we’ll make sure that’s the case and he gets all the support and development he needs to become the player we hope and he hopes he becomes."
"When we got indication that he was looking to come back to Melbourne we certainly spoke to Jye and his management, but by the sounds of it he’s pretty keen to get to Essendon. We wish him all the best. I reckon he’s going to be a good footballer, Jye.
"It may have come into his thinking (when Brad Crouch nominated St Kilda) but I can’t speak for him and his management on that one."
List sizes heading into 2021
"It’s a big factor, it’s been talked about for a long time and we don’t feel as though we’re any closer to a resolution.
"I think if you talked to people in May and June there was a sense that the AFL were pretty keen to cut pretty hard for list sizes. It doesn’t feel like that’s going to be the case now, it feels like maybe if they want to get it back to somewhere in the mid to high-30s they’ll do that over a period of time.
"I think it’s going to come back a little bit potentially this year, maybe a couple of spots, but the configuration between primary list, rookie list, Category B, is still unknown.
"It does make it quite difficult for us as a footy club and a list management group to take that into consideration, but I more feel for some of the players that are still out of contract and with no greater clarity on their futures at the moment. It’s a pretty unfair and uncomfortable position for those guys to be in, so the sooner we get a resolution on that the better."
Luke Dunstan and Jimmy Webster
“They’re both contracted and they’re both good AFL players those boys, it was just the way the season worked. They both got injured at the wrong time, really.
"Jimmy we were trying to get into the side all year and Luke played a pretty strong game in Round 1 and then tore his pec about two weeks back into the season being played.
"They’re contracted for next year and at this stage we’ve had no indication they won’t be with the Saints in 2021."
Adding to the defensive stocks
“A bit similar to the forward line we’ve got, it’s quite interesting back there. We played Dougal and Jake most of the year and that combination seemed to work pretty well, but then even in the final the job that Cal Wilkie, who’s 193cm, did on Jack Riewoldt, it goes to show that you can play at times with a smaller defence if you’ve got the right players back there.
"We certainly think Cal is one of those and Josh Battle, that sort of 193cm, is a pretty versatile guy. Can he play back there as a second key back as well?
"We’ve got some options, but also that’s an area of the ground that we may look to sort of stiffen up as well given that Logan Austin won’t go around next year and Nathan Brown has retired, so we’re a bit lighter on there than we were at the start of the year."
Jake Carlisle and Jack Lonie
"We’ve got a deal in front of (Jake) and his management. He’s been pretty busy no doubt the last few weeks with a new baby, so hopefully that gets sorted in the next few days.
"A bit similar to Jake, we’ve got a deal in front of Lones and his management at the moment.
"We speak very regularly to his manager so we’ll know more there in the coming days. I did read there was some interest (from the Bulldogs), I’m not sure if that’s absolutely the case, but hopefully we get a resolution there sooner rather than later."
Ben Paton and Jack Billings
“Pato we’re just in the very, very final stages there so we’re anticipating a pretty positive announcement with Benny in the coming days.
“(Jack Billings) is out (of contract) at the end of next year. We’ve got a number of good players coming out at the end of next year, so what we’ll look to do is sort of get through the next few weeks, get some clarity around salary cap, list sizes and then work our way through the draft.
"Certainly over summer we’ll start to prioritise the guys that are out of contract at the end of 2021 to re-contract and extend beyond that. We’ll work our way through that over the course of the year."