With two top ten draft picks in hand, a willingness to trade them, and eyes set on landing a big fish, expectations were high that St Kilda would be a big player this trade period. Instead, social media saw more action than the Saints recruiting team with many fans turning to it to express their dissatisfaction at the apparent inaction.
The Saints entered into just two deals during the trade period, each with Port Adelaide, the most active player of this years exchange frenzy. After spending much of the time attempting to extract Adam Tomlinson from GWS, the Saints instead added to the their defensive stocks with a last day trade for Logan Austin. After relinquishing a 2018 Third Round Pick to acquire the 22-year-old Austin, and Port Adelaide's 2018 Fourth Round Pick, they improved their position in this years draft through an exchange of picks with the Power. In exchange for picks 59, 63 and next year's second rounder, the Saints received from Port, pick 34 and a 2018 Fourth Round Pick that previously held by Adelaide and Gold Coast.
2017 AFL draft picks
7, 8, 34, 45, 100.
POSITIVES: From their limited activity the Saints were able to bring in Logan Austin which adds to their stock of key defensive talls. As a result of last years exchange period they will take two first round picks into the draft and, with the addition of Ports Pick 34 they will have 4 selections inside pick 45.
NEGATIVES: Trading away their 2018 second and third round picks the Saints could be light on for selections when next seasons draft comes around.
One of our major objectives during the trade period was to strengthen our key defensive stocks and we feel Logan Austin fulfills that need. He is player that our recruiting team have tracked for a while now and someone we believe has plenty of upside.
St Kilda List Manager Tony Elshaug - Post Trade Deadline
The 22-year-old Austin, although struggling for game time in 2017, is a developing key defender who has proven to have exceptional closing speed and an innate ability to read the ball to complete intercept marks. At 194cm and 84kg and with 13 AFL Games to his name the Saints will be hoping he can add much needed depth to their defensive stocks. The last day trade will see Austin follow, and perhaps replace, his cousin Sean Dempster and form a rare Canberra trio with Josh Bruce and best friend Jack Steele.
Having spent much of the period in efforts to extract Adam Tomlinson or Andrew Gaff from their current clubs, or to manufacture their two early picks into an even earlier selection, it would be understandable if the Saints were a little disappointed with their efforts. There was a lot of interest from clubs for one or both of Picks 7 & 8 but a satisfactory deal wasn't in the offing. Not having been able to pry a free agent loose, the Saints will find comfort in their retention of their top ten picks and their access to two elite players in the draft.
It will be a youthful St Kilda squad when season 2018 comes around with just one player over 30 in the team. Without the addition of ready-made players during this trade period, it will be the development of players already in the side that the club will need to rely upon if they are to make any strides forward next season. As a result, expect to see a lot more of the likes of Hugh Goddard, Brandon White and Paddy McCartin. The Saints will also hope to see the injury cursed Nathan Freeman on the paddock at AFL level after promising signs in the VFL this season and the continued improvement of the likes of Blake Acres, Jack Billings and Jade Gresham. If they see this and the recruiters nail picks 7 & 8, this trade period may be looked back upon a little more favourably than it is currently viewed.
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