AFL 2020: St Kilda Five Fearless Predictions

Will it be heaven or hell for the Saints in 2020?

2019 in a Nutshell

After sacking their coach and losing their most decorated player for a Mars bar and can of Coke, on face value 2019 was just another in an increasingly long list of forgettable seasons for the Saints. However, after managing nine wins despite a horrific run with injuries and an impressive trade period, it might be a year that is looked back upon as a turning point in the club’s history.

Coming from a four win season in 2018, nine wins was a considerable improvement in just 12 months. Combined with the long injury list they had to contend with most weeks, it was middle of the road status for the Saints. Expectations will be higher in 2020 though and similar results may not be viewed as generously.

Playing List 2020

1. Nick Coffield, 2. Jake Carlisle, 3. Zac Jones, 4. Jade Gresham, 5. Shane Savage, 6. Seb Ross, 7. Luke Dunstan, 8. Bradley Hill, 9. Jack Steele, 10. Dan Hannebery, 11. Hunter Clark, 12. Max King, 13. Jack Lonie, 14. Jarryn Geary, 15. Jack Billings, 16, Dan Butler, 17. Dylan Roberton, 18. Paddy Ryder, 19. Rowan Marshal, 20. Dougal Howard, 21. Ben Long, 22. Nathan Brown, 23. Jack Bytel, 24. Logan Austin, 25. Dean Kent, 26. Josh Battle, 27. Ryan Abbott, 28. Tim Membrey, 29. Jimmy Webster, 30. Ed Phillips, 31. Ryan Byrnes, 33. Ben Paton, 34. Matthew Parker, 35. Jack Sinclair, 36. Daniel McKenzie, 37. Leo Connolly, 38. Oscar Clavarino, 39. Darragh Joyce, 40. Nick Hind, 42. Jack Bell, 43. Jonathon Marsh, 44. Callum Wilkie, 46. Doulton Langlands, 48. Jack Mayo. 

Ins: Zac Jones (Sydney), Bradley Hill (Fremantle), Dan Butler (Richmond), Paddy Ryder (Port Adelaide), Dougal Howard (Port Adelaide), Ryan Abbott (Geelong), Ryan Byrnes (Sandringham Dragons), Leo Connolly (Gippsland Power), Jack Bell (Sandringham Dragons).

Outs: Jack Steven, Blake Acres, Jack Newnes, Josh Bruce, Billy Longer, David Armitage, Brandon White, Paddy McCartin, Dean Rice, Robbie Young, Lewis Pierce, Sam Rowe. 

Be sure to check out our Fearless Predictions for the other AFL clubs.

The Fixture

Rd 1North MelbourneAMSSun 1.10pm
Rd 2West CoastHMSSun 3.20pm
Rd 3RichmondHMSSun 3.20pm
Rd 4MelbourneHMSSun 4.40pm
Rd 5GeelongAGMHBASun 4.40pm
Rd 6AdelaideHMSSun 4.40pm
Rd 7CollingwoodAMSFri 7.50pm
Rd 8CarltonHMSSat 7.20pm
Rd 9GWSAGSSat 4.35pm
Rd 10FremantleHMSSat 1.45pm
Rd 11Port AdelaideHJSSun 4.20pm
Rd 12Bye
Rd 13Gold CoastATIOSat 4.35pm
Rd 14EssendonAMSSat 1.45pm
Rd 15SydneyHMSSun 3.20pm
Rd 16AdelaideAAOSat 7.40pm
Rd 17MelbourneAMCGSat 1.45pm
Rd 18BulldogsHMSSat 7.25pm
Rd 19BrisbaneAGabbaSun 3.20pm
Rd 20HawthornHMSSat 7.25pm
Rd 21Fremantle AOSSat 8.10pm
Rd 22GeelongHMSSun 1.10pm
Rd 23CarltonAMSTBC

The Saints Fixture is a bit of a mixed bag, on one hand they don’t leave Victoria until Round Nine but on the other, according to a Matter of Stats, they have the most fourth-most difficult home schedule. Given they host three of last years’ top four including the Premiers and Minor Premiers it easy to see how they came to that conclusion.

The commercial negative of a lack of prime time games, comes with a competitive bonus of just three turnarounds of less than seven days. Somewhat ironically then, the Saints only Friday night game comes after they play a Sunday Twilight game the week before.

The not great, not terrible nature of the fixture was evident in Simon Lethlean’s comments on its release. “On balance, we are satisfied with the fixture presented by the AFL,” he said.

“To have no significant travel in the first eight rounds provides our Victorian-based supporters with the opportunity to come out in big numbers and get behind the team.

“It also a good chance to create some continuity in our program and build a brand of football with a new-look team at Marvel Stadium.

“Decreasing the number of times we travel from seven last season to six in 2020 is a positive step. With games in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Darwin, our interstate supporters can also show their support in person.

“To return to a Friday night fixture is important for our commercial partners, and we understand the importance of our on-field performance in securing more prime-time spots in the schedule moving forward.”

Five Fearless Predictions

The Saints will excite.

While the fixture once again has them spending most of their time off-Broadway, the Saints will be worth the price of admission in 2020. For the second year in a row they added pace to their list in the off-season and will be itching to run and gun when given half a chance. After years of struggling to kick a winning score, expect to see a lot of goals from the Saints in 2020.

Kane Cornes will be proven right.

Yes, I’m just as surprised to have written it as you are reading it but Cornes’ thoughts on Dougal Howard are spot on. The Saints well and truly fleeced the Power with the 23-year-old key position player looming as an important player at Moorabbin for many years to come. Look out for the number 20 to play a prominent role down back in 2020.

Damien Barrett will be proven wrong.

Yes, I know I will need to be much more specific than that if this is to be truly a fearless prediction rather than a statement of the bleeding obvious. I am referring in this instance to his long and monotonous criticism of the Saints recruitment of Dan Hannebery at the end of the 2018 season.

While the first year of his four year contract was mostly spent getting his body right, there is plenty of time left their to be a return on the club’s investment. While we are not suggesting we’ll see him back to his 2016 form which saw him finish fourth in the Brownlow we are predicting that he will play 17+ games and a big role in the Saints 2020 campaign.

50+ Goals for Membrey.

After five seasons of slow, sloppy and haphazard delivery from the midfield you can imagine Tim Membrey was licking his lips with anticipation at the thought of Brad Hill wearing Red, Black and White in 2020. One of the competition leaders for contested marks and marks inside forward fifty he is the player most likely to profit from a cleaner midfield brigade. We are expecting a career high goals haul from the big Saint this season.

Three Saints in 40-man All-Australian Squad.

Alright, we know this would equal the total amount of selections for the club across the last five years, but we did say this was Five Fearless Predictions. Barring injury, Brad Hill should be considered a lock which means we are looking for two more players to get the nod. If Rowan Marshall can continue the upward trajectory he displayed last season, he will be in the mix and there is no reason that a Jack Billings, Jade Gresham or Ben Long can’t make the leap into the elite category.

Check out how Lazar Vidovic welcomed Freo to the AFL in the 1995 Ansett Cup.

Where will they finish?

The first eight rounds loom as make or break for the Saints in 2020. While they remain in Victoria, they also play four of 2019’s top five teams during this period. If they can navigate this period successfully, with seven of the last nine games against teams outside of last years top eight, there is an opportunity for them to come home with a wet sail.

St Kilda to finish between Seventh and 12th.

Can’t get enough St Kilda? Read more of our Saints content here and be sure to like The Animal Enclosure on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

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