Coach – Ross Lyon
Points For – 15th
Points Against – 1st
Top 5 Best and Fairest
- Jack Sinclair
- Callum Wilkie
- Rowan Marshall
- Mitch Owens
2023 Rising Star Noms
Mitch Owens (Rnd 4)
Mattaes Phillipou (Rnd8)
Ins – Riley Bonner, Lance Collard, Paddy Dow, Hugo Garcia, Angus Hastie, Liam Henry, Liam O’Connell, Arie Schoenmaker, Darcy Wilson
Outs – Oscar Adams, Jack Billings, Jack Bytel, Nick Coffield, Leo Connolly, Jade Gresham, Tom Highmore, Dan McKenzie, Jack Peris
Ross the Boss came back in last year with promises of adopting the modern game, being more attacking and how much he had changed. Next minute, the best ranked defence in the comp and the 15th ranked attack. Yet, the footy world bought it. That being said, he turned the ship around and whatever he was selling, the players were clearly buying.
The backline performed really well, that being said, playing back in a Lyon coached team must feel like a luxury being that the whole team does their job and the ball rarely seems to come down to your opponent without pressure. Battle, Wilkie and Howard would be punching bags at a lot of other teams but are effective in this system. Sinclair and MWN give them a mixture of hardness and run fro half back. It is a well balanced backline.
The midfield reads pretty dreadfully on paper. Brad Hill, Steele and Crouch are all good layers but not world changers. They have some young talent in Windhager, Phillipou and have gone out and brought in Liam Henry and Paddy Dow, both of who aren’t really game changers. Maybe Owens will spend some time in the middle and Mason Wood was a strangely effective wing last year. It is an uninspiring bunch though in general.
The forward line is the area that suffers under the Ross plan on top of a midfield that doesn’t win a lot of quick fast ball. They have talent down there. At some stage Max King will find his feet and stay on the field, Membrey is a good foil for King. Butler, Higgins and Owens give them multiple avenues to goal. They just need to see more of the ball. We keep being reminded the RTB is a genius so maybe he has something up his sleeve and was just building defensive systems before revolutionising the forward line. Or maybe he doesn’t really care about scoring as long as it is more than what the rest of the team can hold the opposition to.
The ruck is covered as long as Marshall stays fit. He is a good ruck and his tapwork is generally ok as well as his efforts around the ground. You can build your midfield around a player like him. The coach is good, you know what you are going to get, you will see a reporter sniped every now and then, he will say something bizarre and distract the media from an actual story but most of all, you ill know what you are going to get. You will get 22 plays pulling in the same direction and he will rate effort over talent.
Last year was a surprise to most with how well the Saints went and it has seen a lot of people expecting them to climb even further this year. I feel like unless they really start to look at a higher scoring brand of football, there isn’t a lot further they can go. I see them as a team that will threaten the top four and could also miss the eight entirely. At the end of the year I think they finish in the 8-10 range.