If the motto “defence wins Premierships” rings true, St Kevin’s are in the box seat

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A lot has been made this year about St Kevin’s revolutionising how they went through the pre-season under Anthony ‘Plugger’ Lynch.

The favourite talking point of the year on the VAFA’s For the Love of the Game podcast has come from St Kevin’s, the drones. Throughout the club’s pre-season, in preparation for 2022. Up went the drones, and the full ground, 18-man press began. 

While Brian Waldron was the man who ‘broke’ the news to VAFA fans, St Kevin’s haven’t shied away from it. Speaking on this week’s podcast, Plugger was fully embracing the drones and the reason behind why they came out at training. “It’s a great way to learn, it’s a great way to educate young players on how to play.”

“There was a tweak in the game style and a fairly strong focus on pressing the ground, the drones are the best way to teach.“

The defensive numbers St Kevin’s are putting up in 2022, have not been seen through this decade. Having played off in the last three William Buck Premier Grand Finals, and won two of them. St Kevin’s knows what it takes through the season, to be there on the last weekend of the year. 

Statistically in 2022, this SKOB outfit would beat the Premiership teams they had in 2017 & 2018.

A lot of AFL coaches, since Paul Roos took the Swans to the holy grail in 2005 have preached defence being the #1 KPI when it comes to a premiership profile. Anthony Rock used 65 pts per game as the average for the Snowdogs in 2015, the year he took them to the title in A-Grade. 

Brendon Goddard, senior assistant coach at St Kevin’s came to the club after 334 games at St Kilda and Essendon. Grant Thomas and Ross Lyon, his main two mentors at the Saints that embraced the defensive aspects of Australian rules football. 

“The first priority is finishing top two.” Lynch said. The last 10 Premiers in the VAFA’s top-flight after Round 14 of the season, have been ranked first or second for defence. And, apart from Old Xaverians in 2016, have finished the home and away season with a double chance. 

Round 13 saw SKOB strangle University Blues for the day in the 2019 Grand Final rematch solidifying in his mind the defensive pressure is working “Our boys put in their best performance of the year and hold them to one goal” he said. 

With four home and away games to go before September, St Kevin’s are almost assured a top two finish, but the one thing the 287 game legend knows is that it’s not a given. St Kevin’s, like every other team, has to earn the right to finish with a double chance. 

“I love the fact that it’s an even competition. I think it’s a great month of footy coming up.” 

The back six have been a feature of St Kevin’s all year long. Conor Ross, Michael Pisker and Josh Tynan the mainstays there. When he’s played from Sandringham VFL, Anthony Seaton. If they stay fit in the remaining home and away rounds and through the finals series, this club is in the box seat to add a third William Buck Premier Premiership in the last four completed seasons.

Year

Premiers Pts Conceded Average Ranking at Rnd 14

H & A Finish

2022

St Kevins 715 51 1st Currently 1st

2019

Uni Blues 903 64.5 1st

1st

2018

St Kevins 917 65.5 1st

1st

2017

St Kevins 933 66.6 Equal 1st

1st

2016

Old Xaverians 865 61.8 2nd

3rd

2015

St Bernards 1009 72.1 2nd

1st

2014

Uni Blacks 791 56.5 1st

1st

2013

Old Xavier 909 64.9 2nd

1st

2012

Collegians 978 69.8 2nd

1st

2011 Collegians 928 66.3 1st

2nd