2023 AFL Season Preview: St Kilda Saints

After starting their first half of the season with eight wins, can the Saints return to their dominant form under a new coach?

Recap of last season

St Kilda had arguably the rockiest ride in the AFL last season, they started the season off with eight wins within their first 11 matches. Despite their winning form, the Saints would go on to miss the finals.

The Saints started their season amazingly winning matches against Richmond, Fremantle, and even the Premiers Geelong. Their season turned to the worst though when in the second half of the season the club would only win three out of their 11 matches.

St Kilda's form in the second half of the season would then see Brett Ratten being sacked from the club due to their poor form after he too received a two-year extension earlier that season. Ross Lyon was brought back as the Saints' head coach after departing the club 11 years prior.

How can they improve

One of the main causes for the Saints was pressure got the better of them from the media. The Saints' goal-kicking was poor costing the club a lot of close matches as well their finals chances.

The Saints' leading goal kicker Max King was criticised for his efficiency on the scoreboard last season which further put pressure on himself as well his team. King had matches where he conceded 0.5, 1.7, and 1.3.

The Saints' main focus to improve on would be to improve their consistency throughout the season seeing the first half they won eight matches, then won three in the second half.

List changes

Ins: Zaine Cordy (Western Bulldogs), Liam Stocker (Carlton), Mattaes Phillipou (pick 10), James Van Es (pick 31), Olli Hotton (pick 35), Isaac Keeler (pick 44), Angus McLennan (rookie), Anthony Caminiti (supplementary selection)

Outs: Jarryn Geary (retired), Paddy Ryder (retired), Dan Hannebery (delisted), Dean Kent (retired), Darragh Joyce (delisted), Jarrod Lienert (delisted), Ben Long (Gold Coast)

Biggest Strength

Apart from Ed Sheeran becoming a member of St Kilda, the addition of Ross Lyon will help the Saints with their football in the next few seasons. Having made three Grand Finals as a coach including taking Fremantle to their first-ever Grand Final shows how great of a coach he is.

The Saints have a great young side for the next few seasons to come which will be great for the club to reach finals for the first time since 2020.

Biggest Weakness

Unfortunately with a new coach coming into the side and a few retirements happening for the Saints, it looks as though they are on a rebuild given the club clean out during the offseason.

With a new coach changing positions, players, and game style it is likely the Saints will have to start over this season and get a sense of how Ross Lyon wants to do things pushing forward into the following seasons.

Rising star

Having played 17 games in his first season Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera looks to break out this season. His confidence streaming off the halfback with his speed and clean footwork will be handy for the Saints to have.

Wanganeen-Milera proved himself in the practice match against St Kilda collecting 23 touches (including 20 kicks), as well as 572 metres gained which the Saints need ahead of the season.


Although Ross Lyon holds a coaching record at St Kilda of 76 wins out of 121 games coaches accumulate 64.46% of wins. The Saints are in good hands under Lyon for the seasons to come.

Although it does look as to the Saints might be going backwards rather than forwards this season due to a new coach. The Saints look to slip down the ladder this season, although Collingwood did prove the community wrong last season it is not out of the question for the Saints.

ladder Position: 13th