St Kilda lost some battles along the way but they won the AFL trade period war, the Saints landing five quality players, led by three-time premiership winger Bradley Hill.
St Kilda were the movers and shakers of this year’s player market as they embark on the Brett Ratten era.
The new coach will have Hill (Fremantle), Paddy Ryder Port Adelaide), Dougal Howard (Port Adelaide), Dan Butler (Richmond) and Zak Jones (Sydney) at his disposal for his first season in charge.
Ryder and Howard were the first pieces of the puzzle to fall into place on Tuesday with Hill’s arrival before Wednesday’s 7.30pm deadline the major coup.
After days of tense negotiations, the Saints sent Blake Acres, picks 10, 58 and future second and fourth-round picks to the Dockers for Hill and a future third-rounder.
It was a steep price for the speedy winger, but St Kilda football chief Simon Lethlean was happy to pay it.
“I guess we look at the sum of all the parts,” Lethlean said.
“We weren’t too fussed about winning every deal.
“Freo deserved a good deal for Brad Hill. He’s a very good player, he had two years to go on his contract and he’ll be massive for us under the roof at Marvel.
“So we were happy to pay a good deal to get that done because it’s the right thing to do to get a good player.”
Stalwarts Josh Bruce (Western Bulldogs), Jack Steven (Geelong) and Acres (Fremantle) departed, which was required if the Saints were to pull off their stunning trade bonanza.
“We moved some players out and we had to not win every deal to get them all done but we did get them done so we’re thrilled,” Lethlean said.
“We targeted five players and got them all done in the end.
“It’s just good momentum for our club to have players of that calibre wanting to come.
“… We’re a team that is now ready and with a big appetite to improve and play finals footy.
“We think we’re on the march a bit.”