AFL season preview 2014: St Kilda

St Kilda's messy off-season continued when gun on-baller Jack Steven succumbed to a foot injury. With the kids taking over, such mishaps will have to be at a minimum for the Saints to avoid a tough season.

ST KILDA

Coach: Alan Richardson

Captain: Nick Riewoldt

Last five years: 2-2-7-9-16

Premierships: 1 (1966)

Key Five: Nick Riewoldt, Leigh Montagna, Jack Steven, Sam Fisher, Lenny Hayes

Major injury: Jack Steven, Sam Gilbert

One to watch: Jack Billings. Coach Alan Richardson has seen plenty to like in the No.3 draft pick, who is likely to quickly slot into a spot in the Saints’ midfield or forward line.

Ins: Blake Acres (West Perth WAFL), Jack Billings (Oakleigh U18), Josh Bruce (Greater Western Sydney), Luke Delaney (North Melbourne), Luke Dunstan (West Torrens SANFL), Billy Longer (Brisbane Lions), Shane Savage (Hawthorn).

Outs: Jason Blake (retired), Nick Dal Santo (North Melbourne), Justin Koschitzke (retired), Tom Ledger (delisted), Jay Lever (delisted), Ben McEvoy (Hawthorn), Stephen Milne (retired), Ahmed Saad (delisted).

Best line-up:

B: Luke Delaney, Josh Bruce, Jarryn Geary

HB: Jason Gwilt, Sam Fisher, David Armitage

C: Leigh Montagna, Lenny Hayes, Shane Savage

HF: Tom Curren, Nick Riewoldt, Farren Ray

F: Adam Schneider, Rhys Stanley, Jack Billings

R: Billy Longer, Clinton Jones, Jack Steven

I: Sam Gilbert, Luke Dunstan, Sean Dempster, Dylan Roberton

Predicted finish: 18th

Betting (Sportingbet)

To win the flag: $251

To make the top eight: $15

Ultimate warning:

Leigh Montagna

Montagna has been a reliable fantasy midfielder for a number of years, but the Saints are not the team they once were. Gone are the days where Montagna had Dal Santo, Hayes and Goddard to rally around. Surrounded by fresh, young faces, Montanga is going to cop the lion’s share of the opposition attention. While his fantasy scoring went up considerably in 2013 (up 15.2 points to an average of 111.8), expect that to be an aberration. At 31 and without his usual cadre of compares, Montanga will be pushing it to maintain that level. He’ll be a fantasy stud, but he’s not worth the first round pick that his 2013 numbers suggest.

More information at ultimatefooty.com.au

The story AFL season preview 2014: St Kilda first appeared on Brisbane Times.

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