01/16/2017 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/15/2017 22:30
St Kilda has fattened up the belly of its list across the last few seasons, stretching out the games experience profile at Linen House Centre.
Several key milestones last season also helped increase the average experience at the Saints.
First, dual All-Australian, Leigh Montagna, reached 250 games in the opening round. Then, the clubs longest serving skipper, Nick Riewoldt, became just the fifth player in St Kilda's history to play 300 games.
Star midfielder, David Armitage, also registered game No. 150 against Brisbane in the final round of the season, bringing the Saints up to five players beyond that mark, a figure that only 8.9% of players ever reach.
In recent years, St Kilda has built more experience around the southern end of their list experience, where the 50-150 games bracket has widened to include 14 players at the club, many who loom as critical components in the club's future.
St Kilda is ranked No. 10 for average experience at 63 games, well below the most experienced team in the AFL West Coast (85 games) - who have been inflated by the recruitment of 300-gamers Sam Mitchell and Drew Petrie - while last year's premiers, Western Bulldogs, average only one more game of experience compared to St Kilda.
Key young leaders, Jack Newnes (91 games) and Maverick Weller (90 games), are on track to reach the century in 2017, along with former Essendon defender, Jake Carlisle (85 games).
Newnes, who finished 5 in the 2016 Trevor Barker Award, has played the last 66 games in succession - the 12 longest current streak in the AFL.
While Weller, who finished two places behind Newnes, played every game last year and has played 58 of 66 since joining the Saints at the end of 2013.
Captaincy candidates, Jack Steven and Jarryn Geary - the pair who finished first and second in last year's best and fairest - are both capable of breaking the 150-game barrier in 2017, with Steven requiring 16 appearances and Geary nine.
At the other end of the spectrum, St Kilda has nine players who are yet to debut at AFL level, including the club's first pick in last year's draft, Ben Long, and highly rated youngster, Nathan Freeman.