According to St Kilda, the club will field its best players during the team’s NAB Challenge matches as it wants to earn as many preseason victories as possible. Some other clubs typically see the NAB Challenge as an ideal time to give their top players a rest and play the youngsters, but the Saints will be attempting to get off on the right foot and create a winning attitude right from the get-go. St Kilda has been lucky on the injury front so far in the preseason as forward Arryn Siposs is the only player ruled out of their season opener so far. Siposs is sidelined with a long-term shoulder injury and may not be the best choice for a BetEasy AFL Best and Fairest wager.
Jamie Cox, the Saints’ football manager, said he expects the team’s best players to be out on the field during the preseason. He remarked to AFL.com.au, “We’ll try and win those games and we’ll try to put the best team – the most ready team that is available on the park. We think it’s important to show our members that we’re going to be competitive this year. Therefore if blokes are ready then they’ll be available to play. We absolutely need to be competitive, and I think those habits will be created through the NAB Challenge.”
The Saints’ goal of being competitive on weekly basis will be easier for head coach Alan Richardson to achieve since most of the injured players have returned to action. Ruckman Tom Hickey is back after a knee injury and will soon begin his full training program and tall defender Sam Gilbert has returned from a foot problem and is expected to suit up for round one. Both of these players may earn some attention from punters in the BetEasy AFL Best and Fairest wagering market. In addition, midfielder Jack Steven is recovering from a thigh injury and the 24-year-old should be ready to go in the NAB Challenge series.
All of the healthy saints will participate in an intra-squad game a week before their first NAB Cup game on February 28 against the Brisbane Lions. Cox stated that there will also be a few other match-practice training sessions before they begin the NAB Challenge as it’s important for the team to get used to Richardson’s game plan and tactics and continue to improve. He added that the Saints have an inexperienced and young side, but they have to be competitive this year right from the beginning of the season. To bake a member of St Kilda or any other AFL team check out the BetEasy AFL Best and Fairest markets.