What should a club do when the good times end? How do you approach a rebuilding phase whilst being destined to fall into the mid-table struggle which befalls many teams in the 18-side competition?
Remarkably, I’m stunned to hear Scott Watters even speculate on this at Round 2 in the season, no matter how much they are rooted in truth.
Are the Saints better off trading stars for draft picks, and does the timing of such a suggestion throw off the end result of whether Goddard will follow through with his promise to remain a Saint?
Firstly, should they trade a top tier star? The Saints are on the slide. The premiership window has slammed shut after the horrors of last season, but they do remain a side that with more positives than negatives.
They have enough A-Grade stars (Dal Santo, Montagna, Hayes, Goddard, Fisher. Nick Riewoldt though, body is on the slide, cheapening his trade price) to prevent them from dramatically sliding into the pit of the bottom four. The loss against the Power was an aberration, something that a poor performance produced.
So far; Simpkin, Ledger, Stanley, Milera, Siposs appear to have what it takes to make it at league level and will continue to improve as footballers.
It’s safe to say, that as far as football statistics go, at least one of those five players will not reach the end potential that everyone expects them to.
St. Kilda will finish mid-table this season, as high as 5th/6th, as low as maybe 12th, ensuring the draft order will limit their chances of netting a player with higher potential than if they finished in the bottom four. However, those fortunes in finding and netting better players will improve if they open themselves up to trading a star.
Goddard, is not the star to trade. He is still too young, and will be a major player in the Saints’ next tilt.
He has the capacity to go forward once he hits 30, and kick at least 40 goals in a season. Hayes loses his worth due to the knee injury and ‘Joey’ Montagna may be too old to garner a high enough a pick.
Which leaves Dal Santo and Fisher. Both are critical to the Saints’ structures. Dal Santo is able to play both inside and outside with skill and class while Fisher has a key post in defence.
I believe these are the two that COULD be considered if the Saints go down such a path. Both have a large worth, and would net easily a first and second round pick in a Draft which has been rumored to be stacked with quality.
Is it worth the risk to trade one of them to have an extra first and second round pick to the expansion clubs and/or cellar dwellers? Maybe.
The alternative is to trade a B grade Saint for 2nd or 3rd round picks? Kosi, Schneider, Milne are by far too old and Gwilt and McEvoy have years of improvement ahead of them and will be part of the next tilt for the top four.
After those, there’s not much that could be traded. Jones is a quality tagger, Dempster is solid in defense and Polo won’t have much value.
Secondly, is it too early for Scott Watters to say this kind of thing publicly, and will it effect the outcomes of contracts such as Goddard who are yet to re-sign? Yes and probably no.
This is talk for August and something that Watters should have deflected when asked the question. He hasn’t said it was a certainty, but he still said anything could be on the table.
Not exactly re-assuring chatter for a side, no matter how the reality. Getting traded due to lack of form shouldn’t be a core motivator at this point (even if it’s not said explicitly, comments like this creates second guessing within the minds of players), the continued improvement on field should and (most likely will be) something the Saints should be aiming at.
Discussing trades in an honest method at this time in the season won’t change contract outcomes, but it’s not what the Saints should be looking for.
The players the Saints have been giving game time to over the last two years should be the focus. Improvement, not chopping and changing. Watters should keep this discussion in the backroom until trade time.
However, the Saints must be, and are aware that this is going to be a reality soon.
How do they tackle their ascent back up the ladder after getting so close last time?
Kosi and Riewoldt are nearing the end, and they need to somehow find quality key position players to fill those holes. Their midfielders won’t last forever also, although their stocks look kinder in this area.
The question is, how the will Saints go about this?