St Kilda jumper Posts

St Kilda Jumper Talk: 2014 Edition

Like the pre-season itself, it’s become harder over time to take the jumpers made for the NAB [Whatever it is now] seriously.

The mid-90s saw several designs that would be regularly worn throughout following premiership seasons. North Melbourne’s 1995 blue yolk with stripes and Kangaroo was one of the first an instant favourite, and was the club’s away jumper for several seasons.

St Kilda took things a step further, adopting the hot-cross bun design worn for the 1996 Ansett Cup premiership as the home jumper a season later – and very nearly it became a premiership jumper (and thus, perhaps, the club’s home design in perpetuity).

The design completed the treble in 2002 when it was demoted to away jumper status (in the days when “away” jumpers weren’t necessarily “clash” jumpers), and was the basis for 2001’s infamous Pura Lightstart one-off and the resulting, improved clash jumper with red trim worn for 2002 and 2003. Incidentally, the first appearance of the “Yellow Peril” was against Carlton in Round 20, 2001, and its last appearance was against Carlton in Round 20, 2003.

Other examples of those times when 60,000-plus would attend a pre-season final include Melbourne’s first stylised M design, which inspired a couple of away/clash jumpers over the next decade, and Adelaide’s 1996 design – which was pitted against St Kilda’s new hot cross bun design in the quarter finals – which would inspire the Crows’ clash jumper all of 12 years later. Also, there’s Fitzroy’s pre-season jumper worn in 1995 and 1996, which featured half-chevrons that were echoed in what for all intents and purposes should have been St Kilda’s clash jumper in place of the dreaded “apron” design, but for a potentially rigged vote.

Fast forward nearly two decades and St Kilda this year ran around in two of its three NAB Challenge games in the popular (several people I follow on Twitter can’t be wrong) “Stickman” jumper.

The jumper was a competition winner’s design, hence a couple of elements markedly differing to what you’d see from the typical manufacturer-designed…designs.

Firstly, there’s the all-red back, which has never occurred in St Kilda’s history. Designers have typically steered well clear of using anything other than white to dominate a clash or alternative jumper, even with teams that don’t have white in their colours. St Kilda’s been no exception since the AFL really started standardising (well, to a point) their guidelines for clash jumpers, and that came around the time they told the club to find a design to supersede the very popular candy stripe jumper (which ended with the apron jumper disaster).

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St Kilda won lol

2013 NAB Cup – Round 2
St Kilda 0.1.2, 0.6.6, 0.8.9, 0.13.12 (90)
Sydney Swans 0.3.2, 1.5.6, 1.7.9, 1.8.10 (67)
Crowd: “TBA” (not many) at Etihad Stadium, Sunday, March 3rd at 5.10pm

St Kilda won, although at no point do I remember the Saints being “on top”. It must be the NAB Cup.

There were a few other giveaways. I was looking at the line-ups for the teams – and trying to get over my immediate disappointment of learning Spencer White wasn’t playing – and they featured three subs and emergencies. And new interchange rotation restrictions; conflicting signs alone on a day in which things were hovering around 30 degrees (whilst I was on the number 8 tram into the city The Age mobile site said 14 degrees – incorrect).

As well as the above, ridiculous rules and no one caring about anything were also telltale signs that we weren’t quite there yet.

The thing that caught me eye on my arrival, apart from the 51,000 empty seats at Corporate Stadium, was that the Saints were wearing their clash strip. I really am a fan of this year’s design, but commercial considerations aside why in freak’s name were they wearing that against a team that is white and red (and a lot of white at that)?

Perhaps the Saints merch team had realised that the wonderful 140 Years jumper might dilute sales of the new clash so the latter needs maximum exposure, or maybe they just needed to appropriately cap off a week in which the strangest St Kilda jumper in history was unveiled.

I thought briefly we might be in for an echoing of Friday night’s match-up, which saw the Bulldogs’ NAB Cup/Training jumper up against Hawthorn’s Clash jumper. But the Swans did the right thing.

In honour of the 140 Years jumper, I will be posting a running tally of how many I see being worn at games this year. Our register is currently at six jumpers, including the two at the Lockett end which feature on a number of goal highlights to the left of screen. Strangely, four of the six that I saw were kids 12 and under; I thought this guernsey was a rather bold and refined design that would appeal to traditionalists. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come, but considering what the Hawks and Crows wore this weekend, maybe not.

As an aside, it’s worth noting I saw one guy wearing Sydney’s 1997 Ansett Cup jumper, which they wore in the opening round against St Kilda in a game that the Saints won by a point after ex-Saint Craig O’Brien missed a shot after the siren for the Swans.

Construction of the NAB2 building has just about finished ahead of its opening mid-year, and the whole precinct already has a different feel about it, particularly with the Medibank building shooting up [insert Essendon joke here] next to it. As a 12 year-old in 2000 I remember how futuristic the Stadium felt upon its opening; how large it seemed to loom over the surrounds with its bright Colonial Stadium signage. Now, the stadium that already lacked soul is getting closer to being just another building amongst other buildings.

So I guess it was at least partially appropriate to hold a Naming Rights Cup game there, but having next week’s game at Casey Fields makes just as much sense.

One thing I do like about no one turning up to these games at Docklands is that I can generally sit in several decent spots during the game. I nestled on the wing that actually had people sitting on it (the broadcast side) for the first half. The more people I realised weren’t turning up the more that I wondered what we were actually doing being there, but either way it was nice to be at a four-quarter game of footy (nine-point goals aside, but one thing at a time I guess).

Things started normally enough. My Favourite Player Arryn Siposs took the Saints inside 50 with a long, raking kick, before Big Beau Maister’s faffin’ brought things undone. Armo laid a good strong tackle on the back of some tough stuff in the opening round and Sam Gilbert disposed of the ball as only he knows how. The Jason Gram Specials are hereby named in honour of Sam. There were also three shots at goal that went out on the full in the first quarter, continuing last year’s theme of inaccuracy.

Some things were a bit more out of the ordinary. Seb Ross won a hitout, but something that was out of the ordinary and actually planned was that Big Rhys Stanley started in defence on Sam Reid.

I’m not sure what was more expected – that Rhys injured himself at all, or that he injured himself after putting in a really impressive performance. Before we all blow our proverbials over him we must all take a step back and remember that it’s the NAB Cup. Reid was essentially unsighted until Rhys went off (apart from the shove in the back Rhys gave him). Rhys had him covered for speed and height all around the ground, and put in a few good spoils. It also brought his field kicking into play, which was solid enough; he even took a few kick-outs. So we’ve seen two and-a-bit quarters of a potential X-factor in defence. How excited do we get? I’m pretty excited, but it’s got that under-ripe feel we all have in February and March.

That was honestly the stand-out for me. Reid didn’t turn the game on his head as soon as Rhys went off, but he was all of a sudden in the frame as a game-changer for the Swans. He took two big marks in the 50 and wasn’t far off having two goals from the resulting kicks. Swat might be on to something here – it certainly makes sense on paper, for the same reasons he’d make an excellent forward target. Two-to-four weeks is apparently the wait to see him again, but the buzz will continue to grow.

Also hovering around the backline was Dylan Roberton, who didn’t particularly give us much for the highlights reel in the first half. Jesse White outmarked him easily in the opening term close to goal but his purple patch came in the second. A nice grab on the wing led to him kicking to a two-on-one starring Clint Jones, who managed to eek out a handball to the calamity of Gilbert. Needless to say, the ball was coming back up the other end soon after and Roberton himself found possession and overturned it immediately.

What I did like about his game was that he was always doing something to get involved. He would have known better than anyone of us that some his disposal wasn’t great, but he didn’t let that effect his effort.

Roberton was by no means the only one contributing to the curious second quarter, which saw glimpses of NAB Cup brilliance and NAB Cup faffin’ in equal measures. From where I was sitting, it also saw silhouettes taking the place of most players for the term.

CJ made another appearance in the latter bracket, changing course whilst running out of a crowded back pocket, kicking on his RIGHT foot (I shit you not). Siposs couldn’t believe what had just happened and dropped the footy, picked it up before immediately scrubbing the kick and Rampe kicked a lovely nine-point goal for the Swans. It was passages like that that really made me think the Saints weren’t anywhere near it, NAB Cup or not.

Up the other end, both metaphorically and literally, Siposs, Big Beau and TDL all kicked great goals in the quarter.

My Favourite Player kicked a lovely set shot goal from right on the 50-metre arc, building up his own hype further and giving us something to look forward to not only this season but in the years ahead. He played off half-back but obviously found himself forward on a couple of occasions, moving sveltely through traffic at both ends. He quietened in the second half but we shouldn’t be too fussed about that just yet.

Maister hooked a nice goal around the corner from the pocket after Jack Newnes missed everything in the postcode from the opposite flank. He really battled hard, but he didn’t take a couple of contested marks that really good players would. He’ll only be so serviceable (he certainly isn’t bad) until he can change that; otherwise he really does get to a lot of contests and could really play a strong role in the side this year.

As for TDL, his snap on the outside of the boot from the pocket was the highlight of the quarter – and just about the game aside from Ahmed Saad’s great solo effort in the third quarter. As the game wore on the chemistry between they and Terry grew, kicking 5.3 in three quarters of footy and laying 13 tackles between them. However, with Milne and Schneider to come back I doubt all of them will get a start. Saad is probably just ahead of Milera and TDL at the moment, but that’s only going by a bit of McRules Football. Milera and TDL (and Schneider, for that matter) all have a better capacity to play further up the ground, which will have a big effect on selection. Either way, if they can work together effectively it will make for some exciting football.

Those small forwards had a big impact on the outcome of the game. Saad gave one off to Armo immediately after his goal in the third, TDL gave one off to CJ in the last (albeit after a free should have been paid to the Swans) and sealed the deal himself, and Terry’s pressure in the front half was a constant (he laid six tackles).

It was that opportunistic bent that saw the Saints over the line. On paper, the Swans had control of the game with their top line finding far more of the footy than St Kilda’s, and finishing with 40 more disposals as a whole; 56 of those were handballs though, as the Saints put on some good pressure around the ground. Look out for the switch this year as well as an important part of the game plan – it was highlighted in the broadcast of week one’s games and was used again, quite a few times. Stanley shutting Reid out for most of the game took away Sydney’s focal point, and the Saints seemed to be a little more direct going forward, although not incredibly clean. They simply had more left in the tank as well by game’s end, by which time I was on the far wing after sitting at the Lockett End in the third quarter.

It was great to see hardarses-to-be Wright, Ross and Newnes running out the game strongly and finding themselves relatively high in the possession counts. Wright and Ross looked far more settled for having played in the first week, whilst Newnes backed up his impressive performance and continues to find more and more of the footy. As Swat said after the game, it’s great for those players to get some exposure to not just playing at something resembling AFL level but also against quality opposition in Kennedy, Hannebery and Bolton. Jackson Ferguson also got a chance to defend against Reid and White, and actually found a bit of the ball himself. Having kept him on as a rookie for a couple of years now, there is every chance he’ll be upgraded at some point during the season and debut if he keeps playing well at Sandy.

Of course, it’s tough to read too much into the form of so many younger players in any NAB Cup game. You’d get as much from me saying “Hickey did some nice ruckwork and took a strong mark in the forward line, whilst Big Ben was stronger in the hitouts” as me farting out “Hickey: showed promise; McEvoy: OK.” But there really were some good signs from a lot of younger guys.

Other players showed improvement. Aside from Beau, Armo finally looks like he’s starting to hit his potential (again), putting in a few hard hits and tackles, and Geary has picked up from last year’s step forward. [Edit: Was it just me or did anyone else see Armo taking charge at quarter time and speaking to most of the group? I really hope that’s what I saw – great sign if indeed it was.]

It’s worth noting Joey and CJ were the two highest possession winners, and that whilst Joey is simply blowing off the cobwebs for another strong season, CJ still kicks like he always had. That’s fine if you’re about to embark on a premiership defence but we’re not.

There might be a fall this year (and there might not be, who knows? It’s March FFS) but something I got out of Sunday was that I feel more confident that there will be some upside to this season.

Too hot for any kind of faffin’

NAB Cup – Round 1, Pool 3
At AAMI Stadium, Sunday, 17th February at 4.40pm

Game 1
Adelaide Crows 0.0.4, 0.3.6 (24)
St Kilda 0.4.1, 0.8.2 (50)

Game 2
Port Adelaide 0.5.2, 1.9.2 (65)
St Kilda 0.1.2, 0.2.3(15)

The extreme heat was an added reminder to everyone that Sunday wasn’t real footy. I remember a 30-degree day for St Kilda vs. North Melbourne in Round 3 of 2005, but otherwise Novelty Rules Football is deservedly played in novelty weather.

Footy Park began its final tour – and unless there are design and construction calamities that rival that of Docklands, there’ll be no John Farnham-esque reprisal – in heat that nudged 39 degrees, as the Saints played third-wheel to a faux-Showdown.

Apologies for going straight for Dwayne Russell ahead of anything else but before Port and the Crows rounded out the incredibly sweaty ménage à trois he declared that every showdown was “100%” and that this encounter would be no different. Before making any statements like that he’d only need to look at the 47 people that turned up, let alone ask them their thoughts, to see that this was for all intents and purposes a televised practice match. In another blow to competition’s integrity – just joking, it doesn’t have any, etc. – Swat came right out before the weekend and said the club has “no interest” in winning the thing.

It was hot enough in Melbourne as well and I’d spent most of the day southside at my Grandma’s for her birthday drinking white wine. That’s typically a recipe for me to seriously want to nod off by 6pm, but I just guess the excitement of watching the Saints play in front of a few people who had nothing better to do with their Sunday afternoon in novelty games that no-one will remember took place in a few weeks’ time won out, and I was firmly awake to see the Saints put in a decent showing before capitulating in the heat.

And yes, some more faffin’ about before I get to the faffin’, i.e. obligatory observations on the new clash jumpers. I was a fan of last year’s clash as it was an obvious improvement on the awful “vague cross” 2011 design, but its fatal flaw was the horizontal stripe of the cross being wider than the vertical. This has been rectified in this year’s version; it’s probably the closest we’ll get to the tri-panel design being used as a clash, it looks good and relevant anyway and it’s effective. Arguably our best clash since the candy stripe.

The opening minutes of the season showed us that some things never change as we were treated to the typically shonky disposal from Sam Gilbert and Clint Jones, and Jimmy Gwilt took a few attempts to dust off the cobwebs. The ‘Fro came good, intercepting the footy to ultimately set up Terry’s opening goal and finding plenty of the footy across the back half. I was a little relieved because I had nagging thoughts in my head that he might just never be the same post-knee reco, this being a useless pre-season game or not.

Terry added another one to his opener as all the small forwards got themselves involved. TDL kicked a couple as well in his first showing as a Saint, and Saad and Milne chipped in with some classy goals of their own. Milne’s in particular was vintage Tip Rat, a one-motion snap in traffic after some nice service from Big Ben.

Perhaps the Adelaide players didn’t know which small forward they were on. There were four of them buzzing around, but Fox Footy pushed the boundaries of casual racism by focusing on Terry Milera for an extended period of time after TDL had goaled, with TDL’s stats hovering alongside him as the commentators spoke about TDL. Order was restored when Terry himself kicked a major soon after, and the Fox Footy production team managed to track down the right guy. Let’s put it down to a one-off for the moment.

It would be rude to say Big Beau Maister was playing the lone key forward role, but that’s  genuinely what I’d typed before I remembered Tom Lee was there too. The man whom the Saints gave up pick 12 for (as well as swapping pick 20 for 24, but it’s easier to leave that out and keep the sentence shorter) was dropping them everywhere against the Crows. One of the more comical pieces (until the Port game, which eventually had us all questioning why we’d been excited about footy season returning) saw him drop one of the lead before the ball went straight up the other end for Roberton to drop an easier chance in the back pocket and Johncock to kick his second. Tommy was a bit luckier soon after; Milne cleaned up one that bounced off his chest (which, in the first place, had come from a questionable sliding free kick against the Crows), crumbed expertly and handed it off quickly to TDL who goaled.

Speaking of ineffective St Kilda forwards named “Tom L.”, ex-Saint fan and player Tom Lynch found himself in all sorts, getting caught holding the ball, kicking into the man on the mark, turning the ball over and bouncing off Gwilt onto his arse after the ‘Fro had calmly rushed a behind.

Back to Big Beau, he took some nice grabs and was in the rights spots at the right times. A couple of goals was a nice return, but he would really add to his game if he could take more contested marks further up the ground. Last year there were occasions where he and Roo got in each other’s ways acros half-forward and the wing so we’ll have to see how those two and Kosi (not to mention Big Ben and Big Tom Hickey) operate on the same field.

One of Beau’s grabs was taken right out of Milera’s hands after a sensational kick forward from My Favourite Player Arryn Siposs. He played from half-back as he did towards the end of last year and last week’s intra-club, and he’s very much in the mould of BJ. Calm with the ball, great disposal, a good set of hands and has shown great signs both ends: I really am excited about him and would like to shamelessly/shamefully declare that I was on the Lamb bandwagon from the star; I must point out (no, I don’t) that I know his girlfriend through my brother and when I saw her last she offered to ask him to sign things for me. I couldn’t go through with it. It didn’t feel right.

Farren justified the club’s public backing of his spot on the list in the trade period last year by finding plenty of the ball off half-back with the ‘Fro, which, along with Gwilt and Lamb meant a whole lot of sweeping. Gilbert and Roberton were there too, but…you know.

A comfortable win was nice but clearly took its toll on the players. The older guys particularly needed to be managed through it. Kosi sat out the first game and Milne the second, whilst Lenny, Roo, Sam Fisher, Schneider, Dempster and others were out anyway. Dal was one of the best in the first game but looked wiped in the second (see his dropped mark from a lovely Armo kick in the forward line), and Joey spent both being a little rusty, but forgivably so considering that no-one cares.

The second game saw an injection of inexperienced guys with “The Neck” Webster, Ferguson and Saunders coming in, as well as Ledger to go with Nathan Wright, Hickey and Lee. I saw Big Jay Lever warming up in the rooms with the players before game two, but I don’t actually remember seeing him at all from that point so I’m not sure if he did any things from that point.

St Kilda was a collective write-off after an hour in the heat. It meant most of the guys were farked and the inclusions were kids who’d barely played, let alone enough to be cohesive with said farked guys. Jimmy Webster somehow warranted a mention in the few “ins” that Dwayne highlighted pre-match, before being beaten to the first ball forward by the livewire Jake Neade and promptly giving away 50 metres. He backed that up by kicking it straight out of bounds and pick 7 in last year’s draft Oliver Wines goaled for the Power after the Novelty Rules free kick.

Port were all over it, with newer guys like Wines, Wingard and Neade giving plenty of February hope to the Power fans. That might have been dulled a little by their fading-out in game three (albeit not as bad as the Saints’) but with a new coach who has come in with confidence and these younger guys showing something then the fans have every right to optimism after what the club’s given them since 119.

The bad kind of special mention must go to the Port fans behind the goals chanting after every goal. We’ve all heard the “Seven National Army” chorus at various Association Football competitions but it just really doesn’t work at a game of footy. The game itself is more than absorbing enough. The last time anyone tried anything of the sort at a St Kilda and Port game was the “Spider Dance” at Waverley in 1998, and look how long that lasted.

Wright played both games and didn’t do anything overly special but the fact he’s already getting game time is good. Jackson Ferguson looked pretty comfortable, and fellow rookie Tom Curren was busy around the packs. Curren is in the Emerging Leaders Group, which isn’t bad for a player on the rookie list, but it seems like there are more people in a leadership group down at Seaford than not.

The commentators seemed to be impressed with Tom Hickey. I certainly thought he was alright, and he took a couple of nice marks. We gave up the BJ compensation pick for a chance at having our very own Stephen Merchant, but he’s had some great wraps on him from across the competition. But it’s tough to gauge anything when it’s the first game of the year and it’s over by the time you’ve figured out who the hell it is that’s supposedly playing for your club.

I was really keen on seeing Seb Ross play but he was only out there for the second game. He got beaten to a ball by fellow 2011 draftee Chad Wingard, which stuck out for me and he backed it up with a fumble but I hope The Only Ross at St Kilda was just blowing out a few cobwebs of his own. nother 2011 draftee Ahmed Saad “only” kicked one for the afternoon but he laid a couple of huge tackles which was great. If he can couple that up with speed that’s a great weapon to have.

Sticking with the 2011 draft theme I think a lot of people really are on the Jack Newnes bandwagon. He seems to have a hardarse edge to go along with Nathan Wright and Seb Ross (yesterday’s efforts not withstanding for Seb) and he already looks more comfortable out there with the bigger bodies. A long way to go but getting to smokey status for 2017 premiership captain. Might have to wait until the Twenties though.

In Tom Lee’s defence, he did improve in the second outing. He snapped a goal after a Power kick-in ricocheted into the air off the man on the mark, and the ball eventually was scrambled into his hands. I was surprised he held onto that one, but he composed himself enough to finish the job. He took a great mark near the wing later in the first half, and probably looked more comfortable on the move and higher up the ground – he seemed to put himself in a good position often but his hands would let him down. He composed himself nicely to set up Kosi for the other goal, and later on he found himself on a lead and taking a mark in the forward pocket but he sadly sprayed the kick; he didn’t even strike the ball well enough to kick it out on the full. Nonetheless, pick 12 hasn’t been thrown away just yet. For now.

The game itself was running out the clock in the last few minutes. Neade squeaked out a bemusing kick in the midfield that was turned over, before some serious ping pong in the Saints’ front half ended, eventually, in a behind. No one wanted to be out there; Fox Footy cut to a young kid smacking himself over the head repeatedly with an inflatable clapper after a Power goal (he was a Port supporter).

Ideally, the game is rarely going to be played in this kind of heat, so there’s not too, too much to learn out of the drop off between games by the Saints. Yes, there was a 50-point loss in a half of footy, but we don’t care anywhere near half of what we would if this was a game for points. I learnt during the broadcast that Gerard Healy was a St Kilda supporter, via the ad in which he’s wearing a scarf and talking about the 1971 Grand Final. I think I genuinely found that more absorbing than the actual Novelty Rules Football

When three teams are playing off against each other on the same afternoon and by the end of it “everyone is a winner”, you know it must be February. If not, then our future selves will know that Demetriou went totally bananas.

Round 1 of NAB Cup not quite as exciting as New Clash Jumper

Remember when people cared about the pre-season cup? And 66,888 of us would go to Waverley to see St Kilda play off for a premiership? And then pack out Docklands eight years later for what was the official beginning of one of the better rivalries of the aughts?

They were good times. But Carlton shoved the integrity of the competition up our collectives soon afterwards and now here we are, with the bemusing match up of Adelaide vs. Port Adelaide (feat. St Kilda).

If you proposed this 10 years ago you would have dismissed it as a ploy from the 22nd Century, when footy jumps the shark and introduces a new format a la Twenty20 cricket. Instead, the 21st Century is still in its infancy and we’ll be watching Cameron Shenton, Sam Siggins and Nathan Blee duke things out, possibly or possibly not all at the same time. Either way, the shortened games will be over before anyone can say “who the fark is that?”. Then we have a couple of weeks of closer-to-regular-length games, during which we ask ourselves, “who the fark is that?”.

Effectively, it’s easier to name the players who aren’t playing than highlight who’s actually in the squad. The following aren’t pulling on what will be the NEW CLASH JUMPER (i.e. the culmination of the evolution of the cross clash design that began in 2011) on Sunday, considering the club hasn’t released a NAB Cup/Training-specific jumper for the first time since 2009: Lenny, Riewoldt, Schneider, Dempster, Fisher, Stanley, Simpkin, Markworth, White, Pierce (a lot of leadership missing from this one), or Minchington. Basically, everyone else is. As in, everyone. Players such as Lever, Staley and Webster will try and replicate the 1996 Ansett Cup heroics of Andrew McLean, Jason Traianidis and Jamie Elliott, starting off with a 1996 Lightning Premiership kinda thing.

Not the new clash jumper

On the topic of jumpers, my head burst this morning when I read that the club is offering supporters the chance to design the NAB Cup/pre-season training jumpers for 2014*. I know what I’ll be doing for the next four weeks – see my poorly slapped together first design (there’ll be more) on Paintbrush (I have a Mac but am rubbish with Photoshop).

[Edit: A Google images search for “St Kilda logo” yields a very similar design from BigFooty user pie_machine in this thread – which, a quick look at will show you, I quote and reply to immediately. As I say in the post, I’d already spoken about that kind of design before, so before anyone says I’ve stolen the idea from pie_machine, I’d actually stolen it from the 2009 black training jumper a long time ago.]

*Disclaimer: Echoing the Butterss Board’s alleged poll rigging several years ago, “St Kilda Football Club reserves the right to alter winning design to suit corporate and brand requirements”.

Back to the actual (sort of) footy: the Saints are the third wheel in this faux-Showdown and so play their games back-to-back straight off to get them out of the way. The Crows are up first and freak knows what kind of shape they’ll be in, Port likewise. Everyone’s been training the house down, everyone’s fit and everyone including Kosi is looking incredibly toned. I’m looking to sit back and enjoy watching some kids get some sort of game time in a St Kilda jumper.

We all got excited about Jack Newnes last week and so Saintsational members everywhere, myself included, will be keen to see if he can continue what seems to have been an incredibly strong pre-season from him. Perhaps a smokey for captain in the future (Rich: I’m not sure if he’ll get there in time for the 2017 premiership. Hickey might throw my current list out over time though, which has Big Ben at 1, Armo at 2 and

Josh Saunders seem to have been the most hyped of the 2012 draftees and he showed good signs in the number 35 after Cripps POQ’d. With Lenny and Joey out it gives a chance for guys like Saunders, Seb Ross, Armo, Jack Steven, Ledger and Tom Curren to get used to working together and sort things out on their own, except for the times they’re under the watchful eye of Clint Jones.

The hardarse this club needs, Nathan Wright, played like a kid amongst men last week, but what do you expect when he’s a kid playing amongst men? He showed some signs but everyone shows signs at this time of year and at this time of their career. For our anxieties’ sakes, let’s just hope he shows enough to make us feel, for the time being anyway, that our first pick in the draft as well-spent. Actually when I think about it, Seb Ross, Newnes and my favourite player Arryn Siposs all have this over-confidence this club has lacked since 1873, so Wright is yet another necessary acquisition.

Tom Hickey’s not quite a kid and will probably be playing Round 1 if fit, but he’s possibly the one I’m most keen on watching after last weekend’s intra-club match. St Kilda’s own Stephen Merchant had a good presence in aerial contests and, most importantly, was strong in the ruck against the slightly more seasoned Big Ben. It’s only the NAB Cup but it’s a small step towards making sure pick 13 was worth it.

As always, my favourite player Arryn Siposs will have most of my attention, aside from the NEW CLASH JUMPER.

140 Years jumper talk

So I finally got my hands on my 140 Years jumper after it spent a few weeks at my parents’ house southside. And I love it.

Firstly, the design itself I think is brilliant. It’s bold, the colours look great and it would make a mean looking jumper should it ever be adopted full-time (which it obviously won’t). From a historical viewpoint it would actually be more accurate with black cuffs and white collar, but then you could take that to the next level and say they’d need to be wearing white handkerchiefs around their neck come the game in which they wear this.

Rarely are there St Kilda jumpers so dominated by red and black equally – in fact, this might be the only example of a St Kilda jumper featuring such a scheme alongside the slightly altered design that immediately followed this one in 1877 and to a lesser extent the hot-cross bun design.

It would look even better without the softening effect of the text throughout, but the text is there for a good reason. I’m not particularly keen on the whole jumpers-with-names on them thing in general because they’re often celebrating corporate contributors (Sydney’s QBE 125 Years anniversary jumper nearly spoiled by that factor), however this one has the noble intention of honouring all of those who played a senior game for the Saints. The designers also learnt from the Members’ Thank You jumper worn against GWS in Round 22 last year, which looked more like newspaper as a result of the names being printed in colour on white, as opposed to a white on solid colour.

Not sure how they arrived at where exactly which names would go where on the jumper. Some names are repeated (although not necessarily with the same names around them), and some higher-profiler players are often lumped together. For instance, on the top line of the black hoop immediately under the club logo reads the top 10 players for games played: Robert Harvey, Nathan Burke, Stewart Loewe, Barry Breen, Gary Colling, Lenny Hayes, Stephen Milne, Kevin Neale, Justin Peckett and Danny Frawley; second line in that hoop reads Nick Dal Santo, Ross Smith, Max Hudghton, Trevor Barker, Nicky Winmar, Jeff Sarau, Austinn Jones, Geoff Cunningham, Andrew Thompson, Harry Lever and Jason Blake; and the third reads Brian Mynott, Brendon Goddard, Carl Ditterich, Steven Baker, Wells Eicke, Bill Mohr, Justin Koschitzke, David Grant, Leigh Montagna, Tony Lockett and Sam Fisher. It’s amazing to think of these names on the same jumper as Trojan Darveniza, Emery Staines and Justin Sweeney.

Wayne Thornborrow – the four-goal hero in the six-goal loss to the Hawks at Waverley in Round 4 of 1995 – shares the honour with Jody Arnol of having his name immediately above the St Kilda emblem.

Widely recognisable names on the jumper include Mick Malthouse, Keith Miller, Simon O’Donnell, Ross Oakley, Lindsay Fox and, of course, Roy Cazaly.

Fortunately the ISC template changes don’t compromise the design too much, with the new stitching on the shoulder panels and the collar barely noticeable. Overall, I’d take this as a permanent jumper in a heartbeat, although as I said that won’t happen. Definitely one of my all-time favourite St Kilda jumpers.