Saints pick delisted players in AFL draft - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints pick delisted players in AFL draft

By Roger Vaughan 18/11/2010 11:04:59 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda have again thrown out lifelines to delisted AFL players, recruiting Ryan Gamble and Dean Polo at the national draft.

After using their first four picks on youngsters, the Saints picked up Gamble, the former Geelong defender, as they reconstruct their attack and chase premiers Collingwood.

St Kilda narrowly lost last year's grand final to Geelong and then drew with the Magpies this year before suffering a bad loss in the grand final replay.

After the top end of the Gold Coast-dominated draft proceeded largely as expected, the Saints also sprang a big surprise deep in the selections when they recruited Polo, the axed Richmond utility.

There was an audible gasp in the audience at the Gold Coast Convention Centre when Polo's name was called.

Since coach Ross Lyon took over four years ago, the Saints have become noted for giving experienced players a second chance, either through trades or the draft.

Gamble and Polo were among only three delisted players to find new homes in this draft, with Sydney also recruiting former West Coast defender Matthew Spangher.

The Eagles took Spangher at pick 73, while Gamble went at 90 and Polo was called at No.103, only nine picks from the end.

Collingwood belted the Saints in the grand final replay last month and Lyon said his club want Gamble to become part of a new-look attack.

"We're going to reconstruct our front half ... where the game has gone with presses, you're kicking to a contest a lot more, there are less uncontested marks," Lyon said.

"Collingwood had a really good model, playing three-and-a-half, at times four talls.

"When (Sam) Gilbert went to the front half, he turned those grand finals around pretty quickly.

"We see Gamble playing in the front half as well, so you're looking at (Justin) Koschitzke and (Rhys) Stanley in and out of the ruck, with (Nick) Riewoldt, Gilbert and ... Gamble (in attack).

"We're all under pressure for spots and we're all trying to catch Collingwood now, because they've really elevated."

Gamble, 23, has played 24 games since his 2006 debut.

Polo, 24, only managed four senior games this season for a career total of 56, but Lyon said he had an eye on him for a couple of years.

"When you scratch a little deeper, in 2009 he played 22 games, came ninth in their best and fairest, was able to play as a back ... yet he was rated No.1 in Richmond for winning the ball back off the opposition," Lyon said.

"I'm not saying he's a perfect player ... (but) he's quite flexible."

The Saints gained an early bonus when they picked up East Fremantle midfielder Jamie Cripps with their first pick at No.24.

Cripps was expected to go as high as 14.

"I think he'll play senior football next year ... if he gets a good pre-season, he should be able to break into our side, that's the aim," Lyon said.

There were no big shocks among the early picks, with expansion team Gold Coast having eight of the opening 13 selections.

As expected, highly-rated midfielder David Swallow, the younger brother of North Melbourne star Andrew, went to the Suns with the prized No.1 selection.

The Suns had the top three picks and after Swallow, fellow WA teenager Harley Bennell went at No.2 and key forward Sam Day from Adelaide was the third selection - all as predicted.

Essendon swooped on midfielder Dyson Heppell when he was still available at No.8.

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