AFL 2020: St Kilda – Midseason Report Card

One of the more exciting teams in 2020, the Saints have had a promising start to the season. How has Bozza graded their first nine games?

The Saints have, and continue, to slip under the radar of most pundits with their rise up the ladder in 2020. After many pundits tipped them for the wooden spoon pre-season, sitting in third place after nine rounds, a Top Four finish is now more realistic.

Can’t get enough footy? Check out more of our Pinch Hitters Mid Season Report Cards here.

What’s gone right

At the risk of sounding like Debbie Downers, we’ll start with the biggest one that is outside their control. Player availability has been a big plus for the Saints in 2020, with the club enjoying statistically the best luck with injuries in the competition as at the end of Round Nine. That said, luck is only the intersection of skill and opportunity and you can’t prosper from a kind injury run without getting a lot of other things right.

The club made a massive off-season splash with their activity during the trade period last year and each of their targets has proven astute acquisitions to this stage of the season. Dan Butler is third in the Coleman. Zak Jones and Brad Hill have provided much needed skill and speed to the midfield. Dougal Howard is arguably the best young defender and some of Paddy Ryder’s ruck work in recent weeks has been a sight to behold.

The highest scoring team in the competition after nine rounds, they have improved dramatically in the areas of inside 50 efficiency and goal kicking accuracy. Their work at the stoppage and in causing forward half turnovers complimenting both of these areas.

The influx of speed and skill to the team and the addition of the exciting prospect that is Max King, has also aided the team in achieving better forward 50 entries. While only in his first season at AFL level, King is rarely beaten and allows the Saints to be more direct going forward. This combined with the speed flying past him has seen the team consistently create better goal scoring opportunities.

What’s gone wrong

We don’t want to mention the war, but the defeats to Fremantle and North Melbourne may well prove costly at seasons end. With due respect to both teams, these games are ones that top teams just need to win and the Saints had both well in hand when leading by five goals. Unfortunately, despite 2020 being a season short on comebacks, both were lost with two of the three biggest turnarounds of the season.

Their loss in Round Three, while coming against better opposition, was also a bitter pill for the team. In their first genuine test of the season, the Saints were completely outclassed by a Collingwood team that made them look second rate. In a season in which their stoppage work has been a distinct strength, it was almost non-existent against the Pies as Brodie Grundy had a day out.

Standout player

Dan Butler

In what is possibly the biggest indication of the Saints improvement in 2020, the form of a number of players made singling out one extremely difficult. That said, Butler has been a revelation this season and his value to the team far exceeds his impressive statistical contributions with his pressure and work rate creating countless opportunities for his teammates.

Run home

Rd 10Gold CoastMetricon Stadium
Rd 11GeelongThe Gabba
Rd 12EssendonThe Gabba
Rd 13BrisbaneThe Gabba
?West Coast?

With four of their last eight to come against top eight opposition, there is still some work to do for the Saints to claim a top eight berth. The next four games will go a long way to deciding their fate.

Final Grade


They are well placed after nine rounds but have some work ahead of them still if they are to end their nine year finals drought.

Can’t get enough footy? Check out more of our Pinch Hitters Mid Season Report Cards here.

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