Acres, Blake: Started quietly in the intraclub. His second half against the Blues was good and finished with 38 disposals for Sandi. Coaches evidently concerned about what he does, or rather doesn't doo, when he does not have the ball. Our midfield is better this year and so he needs to step up more to be in the 22. Lots of upside though.
Armitage, David: It was revealed this week that he had been carrying a back injury which limited his game last year. The Kierser Program now has his back a lot better and his game last night against the Swans indicated that Armo may indeed be back to his best.
Battle, Josh: What we have seen we have liked. He looks to be a "natural"marking forward that reads the ball well and knows when and where to go. The youngest player on our list should just get better and better and looks to be an option for the post-Roo world in a few seasons time.
Billings, Jack: Has been the quit achiever if the various pre-season games. Has looked good in all of them racking up big numbers ina non-flashy game-style where he is getting the job done well mainly playing behind the ball to st up play with his kicking.
Brown, Nathan: Solid. Will not star but provides a big key defensive option that we have lacked. I expect that as he plays more games the chemistry of him in the back half will get better and better.
Bruce, Josh: In the last two games Bruce loks to have rediscovered his marking power. He is Roo-like in his work rate and looks set fora good year asa key forward.
Carlisle, Jake: After a year of no football games he is slotting in nicely at CHB and I expect that he will get better and better as he racks up more games and also gels with his other backs more.
Connellan, Ray (R):Promising signs from someone that has played so little football.
Coughlan, Nicholas (R): Quiet so far
Dempster, Sean: Just keeps rolling out the gamestyle that we all know. However with all players apart from Goddard now fit and with Carlisle and Brown now inserted into our back half we are in the very good position of not being able to fit in everyone. This may mean that Demspter is in and out of the team this year.
Dunstan, Luke: Has stepped up overall in the pre-season with a brace of good games. Like our defense we now have more mids than we can select in our best 22. Dunstan is in that group of mids who may or may not play depending on each others form. so far he has done enough to be in front of Stevens and Acres.
Freeman, Nathan: Still not on the park!
Geary, Jarryn: The Captain has just been cruising in the pre-season. His value will be shown again when he has to shut down the very good small forwards.
Gilbert, Sam: Personally I reckon that Gilbert has had a good pre-season without being outstanding. He can break lines and play a multitude of roles. Good form will keep him in the the 22, but any indifferent games may see him nudged out.
Goddard, Hugh: Injured.
Gresham, Jade: Just radiates quality. He has not been brilliant in the games to date, but his play just radiates quality and you just know that this guy is just going to get better and better.
Hickey, Tom: Some had Longer in front due to his tapwork at training, but when it comes to impact ina game of football Hickey's game against the Swans reminded everyone of why Hickey became our No 1 Ruckman last year. His ability to play like an extra mid and in heavy traffic to dish out very, very good handballs to players in good spots provides as an edge that most teams do not have.
Holmes, Jason: Looks to have improved his game somewhat and can read the play better. But he remains in my mind a player that you only play when injury forces your hand.
Joyce, Darragh (R): Raw.
Long, Ben: Has been one of the good talking points of our pre-season with a lot to like. He has all the tools that you want in a modern small forward including a very good defensive game with the ability to run down opponents. However his history shows a bit of hot-headedness and at times lack of discipline. If our coaches can iron out those flaws we may have found a player here.
Longer, Billy: Tapwork remains good, but equally his ability to impact the game beyond his ruckwork remains low.
Lonie, Jack: Has been ok, but the bar has now been lifted to be the first 22.
Marshall, Rowan (R): Has shown great promise to be a ruckman that that can also perform capably in a key position role either forward or back. Early days yet but may well be that elusive ruck/forward player that we have been seeking who can play as the No2 ruck and still deserve a spot on the playing field when not rucking.
McCartin, Patrick: He has not been bad, but I think that we were all hoping to have seen more from Paddy in the pre-season, His Blues games was excellent, but his other games have only been so so. His kicking was woeful in the Swans games and confidence wise he looked in that game to be a player who wanted to kick it anywhere but towards goal.
McKenzie, Daniel: MIA. After a very promising season last DMack has been disappointing in the pre-season and his kicking quite woeful. I am sure that he will come good, but is outside our best 22 at present.
Membrey, Tim: Yes was quiet againts the Swans, but his pre-season has been good. I personally believe that he will again be one of our best forwards this season.
Minchington, Darren: he has not really downe anything wrong this pre-season, it is just that others are doing it better. Wright looks to be our first choice small forward at present with Long announcing that he may be in time. Midfield wise the arrival of Steele and Stevens has pushed Minch further back in the queue.
Montagna, Leigh: Has been out injured, but we know that Joey is a quality player.
Newnes, Jack: Mr Invisible has remained that. Just keeps racking up quality games that no one seems to notice.
O'Kearney, Nick (R): Thought he looked ok in the intraclub, but with our midfield acquisitions this will be most likely just a year for him to work on his game and body.
Phillips, Edward: Shows good promise
Pierce, Lewis: Played little in our first 22 and while looking ok is not in Hickey or Longers league as a ruckman. He plays better than Longer around the ground though. Marshall who is one year younger that him may well go past him.
Rice, Bailey: Has been another to make you sit up and take take notice. I thought that his games down back have beeen excellent and a step up from the good form he delivered at the season end with Sandi last year. He has clearly shaken off the effects of Glandular Fever and looks ripe to be a future back-pocket to eventually replace Geary. Hard at the ball and contest, quick of football and a good kick he marked himself as one to watch.
Riewoldt, Nick: Nick is still Nick. Enough said.
Roberton, Dylan: Has been in excellent form, and with his offensive game it may limit how many games Dempster plays this year.
Ross, Sebastian: Has continued on this season with the form that he showed last year.
Savage, Shane: I thought his game against the Swans was excellent and his other games ok. It may well be him or Joey in our best 22 though.
Sinclair, Jack: I am possibly biased as I have always liked Jack. I thought that his pre-season games have been good and that he looks to be an improved player this year with a more all-round game. However to be in the first 22 his problem is that for a small forward role that Wright has improved with Long sniffing around. And in the midfield that Steele is now a lock, Dunstan has steeped up and that Stevens also in the queue. so for Sinclair just improving somewhat is not yet enough. He has to continue to work on his game which is very silky at times to reach a consitantly high standard.
Steele, Jack: Has been the find of the pre-season for that Saints despite him having a delayed start to his pre-season. He has delivered both an inside and outside games. Love his hands in traffic. Body-wise too he has been a beast and a tackling machine. He has certainly been exceeding my expectations to date.
Steven, Jack: Remains a gun.
Stevens, Koby: Has played good solid football as a mid, but Steele has been much better. It was a great shame that we did not see him play against the Swans as that would have allowed to asses a lot better of where he rates in our midfield queue.
Webster, Jimmy: personally think that Webster has been good with all aspects of his game. His kicking was a bit errant earlier, but against the Swans it was good. I also love his aggression.
Weller, Maverick: Mav has been Mav again. I think the coaches were letting the other small forwards try and stake out their claims bu underplaying Mav in the various pre-season games. Against the Swans when the coach set up our first choice players Mav quickly stamped why he is a lock in our forward set-up.
White, Brandon: Reportedly came back a bit out of sorts post break, and so now has to to the hard yards to restore the coaches faith in him. He remains a talented prospect though.
Wright, Nathan: Wright is back to being that player that first announced himself when he started playing. His kicking last season was at times errant, but now looks good his ability to accelerate away and run down players . On the field he is the quickest player at the Saints with attack on the ball and opponent frenetic with a hardness few can match. He and Weller are our two first choice small forwards at present.
Overall: It has been a long time since we have entered the season in such good touch, with so few injuries, with several new ready-made players and with a brace of good youngsters threatening to push up. Competition fora place in the 8 will be fierce this year, but we look to have the goods to be firmly in the race. There may still be a question mark on whether we have enough genuinely elite players , but I doubt that our depth has every been better at the Saints.
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