With the calendar year drawing to a close its a time for reflection and celebration. While 2019 might have been another season without finals for the Saints, there were a number of standout performers in red, black and white. A few familiar faces with a pair of breakout stars make up our list of Top Five Saints of 2019. With an average age under 24, its a list that bodes well for the future.
What a remarkable debut season for the 23-year-old from North Adelaide. Taken with Pick 3 in the Rookie Draft, Wilkie quickly became a vital component of the Saints backline. Performing like a player with 200 games not 20, the ever dependable backman has genuine claims to AFL Recruit of the Year status in 2019.
The classy 24-year-old started the season in blistering form before producing his most consistent year to date to finish fourth in the club’s Best and Fairest. Spending more time in the middle of the ground, Billings averaged 25.7 disposals per game in a season that augurs well for the future.
Assumed the captaincy in the absence of Jarryn Geary and led by example at his typical consistent hard working best. The Saints leading possession winner in 2019, his efforts were rewarded with his second Trevor Barker Award as St Kilda Best and Fairest.
One of the hardest and toughest players in the competition, Jack Steele has in quick time become one of the most important players at the club. The 2019 season was perhaps his best yet as he led the AFL in tackles highlighted by an 18 tackle effort against North Melbourne.
With due respect to Trevor Barker Medallist Seb Ross, there was only one man in the running for this recognition. Having to shoulder the ruck load almost singlehandedly, Rowan Marshall was huge for the Saints both literally and figuratively in 2019.
Rarely beaten in the ruck battles despite giving up size and experience on many occasions, Marshall hurt his opponents around the ground with his possession winning and clearance work. A good kick for goal, and a strong mark he has the ability to be damaging up forward too.
In a difficult season for Saints fans, Marshall was a ray of light who provided something to be excited about. Only 24-years-old when the 2020 season kicks off, Marshall will have plenty of opportunities to continue doing so.