Ladder Position: 6th
Wins/Losses: 12/9 (1 Draw)
2011 was more a hangover for the Saints than anything else. After two seasons of coming so close to premierships, they started extremely slowly and were embroiled in questions of whether they were capable of challenging again. Their finals appearance saw them lose to Sydney, then the off-season controversy with the surprise departure of Ross Lyon to Fremantle.
2012, however, poses problems. The Saints were in salary cap trouble at the end of 2011, and the same problem will surely hit come the end of 2012. Star midfielder Brendan Goddard is out of contract at the end of the season and believed to be a target for GWS. They have a new coach and a resulting new gameplan. And there is the question of whether their ageing talent is good enough to make one more finals tilt.
Their draw is not necessarily too easy either. They play both Carlton and Sydney twice, as well as the Bulldogs, Melbourne and Gold Coast. Six interstate trips do not help the load either.
Nick Riewoldt – Can he lead the Saints to one more Grand Final? Riewoldt has been a great for St Kilda, but many greats have no premierships.
Brendan Goddard – Cue the ‘Is he going to GWS?’ speculation. Goddard will have all the lights of Ablett 2010 and Scully 2011 on him – even moreso, perhaps, with GWS playing in the competition and their weaknesses being discovered.
Lenny Hayes – Hayes suffered a season-ending knee in 2011, and the veteran will need to be back at his best if the Saints are going to challenge in 2012.
Arryn Siposs – Siposs debuted in 2011 but didn’t have a great time, playing only five games before being dropped and then injured. Look for him to break in and have a run of games.
Rhys Stanley – The young key position prospect played well in 2011 when Riewoldt was injured, and will look to break into the side on merit rather than on replacement in 2012.
Beau Wilkes – While not young in relative terms, Wilkes will be looking to restart his stalled AFL career and break into the team as quickly as possible.
The Saints really are running out of time before they are genuinely out of contention, but simply just don’t look to be good enough now to give it one more shot. However, don’t rule them out in giving September a crack.