As the AFL national draft approaches, it appears as though the St. Kilda Saints may receive some divine intervention as the holders of the seventh and eighth pick.
They have been nibbling at the margins for the past two seasons and a couple of contributing young guns could be just the prescription for getting above the line and producing a top-eight finish in 2018.
The slipped a bit in 2017 after going to the line in 2016 before bowing to North Melbourne, but for a side that in the past several years prior has been spoon contenders, they appear to be moving in a positive direction.
Other than those two top picks, however, they do not select again until 34, followed by 45 and 100.
The Saints lost three players to retirement, those being Sean Dempster, Leigh Montagna and most significantly, Nick Riewoldt. The Saints delisted Joe Baker-Thomas, Jason Holmes and Nick Coughlan. Lewis Pierce was also delisted, but he will be redrafted as a rookie.
St. Kilda is seemingly bent on building the side through the draft, as they were unusually quiet during the trade period, bringing on only Logan Austin from the Port Adelaide Power. Austin is a bit of an enigma, playing only 13 games across two seasons for Port. He played only twice in 2017, against the Roos in Round 17 and the Dees in Round 18.
The Saints did flash brief displays of competence during 2017, handing eventual premiers Richmond Tigers a 67-point loss in Round 16 to cap off a four consecutive game winning run. They also beat the Swans and the Eagles. On the other side of the equation, they did lose some games, that if they are to figure in the finals in 2018, they need to find a way to win.
Until they can consistently get by such clubs as the Eagles, Cats, Swans and the Crows, they are destined to be middle of the pack, so their supporters are hoping the Saints can mine some diamonds with their two top picks.