St Kilda Saints Season Preview, Pre-Season, Analysis, Predicted Round 1 Team, Ranking Position, Strength, Weakness, Breaking News

Can Ross Lyon turn St Kilda into an unstoppable force, or will he return to turning the side into an immovable object?

It’s one of many questions surrounding the Saints and this supposedly evolved version of Lyon, who has expressed a desire to coach a more attacking side but has so often opted for defensive integrity above all else.

Ironically, given their defensive woes in recent years, the Saints are probably better off with the ‘old’ version of Lyon.

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Tippa scores a goal on return! | 00:44

Call it cheating, call it a cheating game plan or a pick-and-choice mentality, but the reality is that the Saints were arguably the most unpredictable team in the competition last season.

Brilliant stints were followed by bewildering missteps, and the decision to fire Brett Ratten was finally made just months after his two-year contract extension.

There’s a desire within the Saints to be more ruthless and if that’s the modus operandi, Lyon certainly fits in.

What he focuses on first will be key, but his influence has wowed some viewers.

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“Don’t sleep on St Kilda,” Cameron Mooney told

“Defensively they will be a lot better. Good teams score behind their defense. Max King being out for a while will hurt, but Ross will make it harder for them – and harder to score against.

“They may not score many goals themselves – we know that’s how Ross trains – but has he changed his philosophy on goals after being out of the game for a while? That’s fascinating. But don’t sleep on the saints.

“They could be one of those teams that will surprise some this year.”

Saints Phillipou shoots 50 from the outside! | 00:53

For Hawthorn’s great Dermott Brereton, Lyon’s defensive nature is intrigued by the Saints.

“Ross is a star coach and has said he wants them to be more of a goalscoring team but his DNA goes the other way,” Brereton told

The off-season saw the Saints return to the future with Lyon being just one of several players and managers returning to the club.

This renaissance has boosted the hopes of some fans, but hope is a fickle animal in the AFL world.

“The St Kilda support group is the most tolerant support group but then they can always turn around and tear down the walls,” Brereton said.

“I don’t know what the Saints are about, but I just love watching them do it and I love Max King.

“There’s so much to like about the way the club is going about it, but they’re like your weekend class in human interaction and how you should emotionally attack every situation because they’ll take every emotional journey known to man one.” Weekend. They are a fascinating club.”

Max King will miss the first part of the Saints season (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images


defense in attack

Few teams have a one-two from defence, like Jack Sinclair and Bradley Hill.

The couple worked brilliantly together in 2022, with Sinclair in particular putting on the best season of his career.

He was among the top 15 players in the competition for total meters won and was a picture of consistency in a team that was anything but good.

When the Saints fired, a strong one-on-one defense opened the door for Sinclair and Hill to do their jobs, resulting in a scintillating slingshot footy.



The Saints’ power brokers said they needed a more ruthless advantage in 2023, and the seed for that belief would have been planted over the past two years.

St Kilda were arguably the most erratic team in the competition for much of 2022, with a string of poor performances punctuated by a scintillating one only to return to type afterwards.

When her game plan and running forward paid off, it paid off, but the same goes for the opposite.

Being a more level-headed side with fewer ups and downs is key for Ross Lyon in his first year at the helm.


6 p.m

The Saints have some good players on the books, but many of them are in their late 20s and the reality is they probably won’t be at their best by the time the young brigade is fully developed.

Promises have been made to reinvest in the squad’s youth but it will take time for that investment to pay off.

By parting ways with rats and attempting to exceed expectations, the Saints’ confidence seems to implicitly admit that the tactic of being tough at the dealing table hasn’t, by and large, paid off.

They’re probably right in between the sites that compete and the sites that don’t.




B: Ben Paton, Dougal Howard, Callum Wilkie

HB: Jack Sinclair, Josh Battle, Brad Hill

C: Dan McKenzie, Brad Crouch, Hunter Clark

HF: Marcus Windhager, Tim Membrey, Jade Gresham

Q: Dan Butler, Max King, Jack Higgins

EPISODE: Rowan Marshall, Jack Steele, Seb Ross

I/C: Jack Hayes, Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, Jack Billings, Mattaes Phillipou St Kilda Saints Season Preview, Pre-Season, Analysis, Predicted Round 1 Team, Ranking Position, Strength, Weakness, Breaking News

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