Ins: Luke Delaney from North Melbourne, Shane Savage from Hawthorn, Billy Longer from Brisbane, Josh Bruce from GWS.
Outs: Nick Dal Santo to North Melbourne, Ben McEvoy to Hawthorn, Justin Koschitzke (delisted), Steven Milne (retired), Jason Blake (retired).
2013 Record – 16th on ladder -20 points – 5 wins, 17 losses.
Negative: 18th in marks conceded, 17th in hitouts conceded, 17th in tackles, 16th in hitouts.
New coach Alan Richardson has got a huge job on his hands to lift a side that had a terrible time in 2013 and now has to deal with the departures of three of their very best players in Nick Dal Santo, Steven Milne and Ben McEvoy.
These departures, plus to a lesser extent those of Jason Blake and Justin Koschitzke, are going to hit the Saints in all areas of the pitch and it’s hard to see where the improvement is going to come from given that despite recruiting well with the future in mind the players coming in cannot be expected to fill the gaps left by such influential and key members of the team in the short term.
The fitness and form of the aging trio of Nick Riewoldt, Leigh Montagna and Lenny Hayes will be key if Saints fans are not in for another thoroughly depressing year.
Ruckman Billy Longer will need to play far more games than he did for the Lions if he’s to in any way make up for the loss of Ben McEvoy.
Their draw is tough enough and if they fail to win both of their first two matches against the Demons and Giants they will be in big trouble.
It’s hard to see the Saints improving on their 5 wins of 2013 and are more likely to win the wooden spoon than they are to make the finals and anything above $4 on Betfair is a gift (last price matched: $4.80)