At a glance:
- Chief Operating Officer Simon Lethlean says the Saints are confident in drafting a quality player with their first-round selection.
- It will be the first time St Kilda has had a first-round pick available since 2018, which was ultimately used to secure Max King.
- The Saints have picks No. 21, 64, 67, 74, 92 and 106 at tonight's National Draft.
Chief Operating Officer Simon Lethlean says the club is confident in drafting a quality player with its first-round selection at tonight’s AFL National Draft.
St Kilda holds pick No. 21 – the Saints’ most recent first-round selection since Max King in 2018 – along with selections 64, 67, 74, 92 and 106 heading into the remodelled draft night.
“We’ve got our eyes pretty firmly focussed on the top 25 and (our) recruiters have their order in mind as to who they think will be around at that 15-25 spot,” Lethlean told SEN.
“We’ll take the best guy on our board and he’ll be a good player.
“It gets a bit more analytical as you get further down the draft. We’ve got a pick a bit later which might move a bit as well as Academy kids coming through, but we’re looking to find the best kid we can, and there are always good kids.
“If there’s only 50 picks this year, they’ll be good players and there will be some others that sneak through to the second-tier next year that might be just as good. They’ll be on the radar pretty fast.”
St Kilda’s first selection for 2021 will join recent first-rounders Max King (pick No. 4, 2018), Hunter Clark (pick No. 7, 2017) and Nick Coffield (pick No. 8, 2017) on the club’s list of top-tier talents.
A big pre-season ahead for Max King ?? pic.twitter.com/o11AXKuoBg— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) December 8, 2020
The Saints additionally brought in Jack Higgins (pick No. 17, 2017) during this year’s Trade Period along with free agents Brad Crouch (restricted), Shaun McKernan (delisted) and James Frawley (delisted).
Ten players were ultimately cut due to the reduction in list sizes heading into Season 2021, while veteran defender Nathan Brown hung up the boots after 183 career matches.
“(Head of List Management) James Gallagher has worked really hard in the two years he’s been at the club now to look at what our list required and it’s been a reasonable overhaul,” Lethlean said.
“We had to make change to get people in, but also make change to reshape the size of our list as is the direction of the AFL.
“We certainly targeted a couple of players this year in Crouch and Higgins and got them for fair value… and McKernan and Frawley adds to our depth at both ends of the ground.
“But we’re under no illusions that we need to keep getting better every year to compete with those teams who play finals all the time. We strive to be like them and we’ve got some work to do.”