St Kilda hired former North Melbourne list boss Glenn Luff to analyse the Saints’ playing list as part of the club’s review into the football program.
News Corp can reveal Luff presented to a working committee led by president Andrew Bassat that included new chief executive Simon Lethlean, board member Jason Blake and ex-Kangaroos coach David Noble.
Luff, who is now a golf operations manager at Bundoora Park after resigning mid-year from North Melbourne, also spent 17 years at Champion Data as an AFL analyst.
The review has already resulted in the shock sacking of coach Brett Ratten, who was believed to be safe when the process began in August after he re-signed for another two years only a month earlier.
St Kilda will announce that decision in a media conference at its Moorabbin headquarters on Friday morning.
Veteran administrator Geoff Walsh was appointed as executive general manager of football in early October and charged with overseeing all facets of the men’s football program.
The state of the Saints’ list has been a constant talking point, especially after a quiet trade period that saw them miss out on No.1 target Jordan De Goey but retain young gun Hunter Clark despite him wanting to move to North Melbourne.
James Gallagher became St Kilda’s list manager two months before the 2018 trade period, then executed an aggressive recruiting raid a year later that delivered Bradley Hill, Paddy Ryder, Dougal Howard, Dan Butler and Zak Jones.
Dan Hannebery also arrived only months into Gallagher’s tenure, a high-priced move that spectacularly backfired, including only 18 games in four injury-riddled seasons before he retired this year.
Gallagher explained after the trade period the Saints were deliberately not heavily involved, with a focus on retention and bringing “A-grade talent” through the draft.
But he admitted on Thursday the list was not good enough to compete for a premiership.
Club great Nick Riewoldt supported St Kilda’s football department review and called for the list and recruiting strategy to be “looked at and pulled apart”.
Another former star, Leigh Montagna, also previously urged the Saints to trade some senior stars and “reset”, suggesting Hill, Jones and “maybe” Jack Billings or Jade Gresham could be sent to rival clubs.
“(The review is) absolutely necessary, particularly around the list structure and recruiting strategy moving forward,” Riewoldt said on Fox Footy in August.
“This is a really critical time for St Kilda, the next 12 to 24 months, because if you look at the previous strategy; they’ve gone down the path of bringing in mature-aged players, which has elevated them to an average team –and that’s about it.
“But if you look below that, at the young talent who are going to form the elite core of this club for the next five to 10 years, there isn’t much there.
“And so what is the strategy? Because it’s no good topping up with (Dan) Hannebery and Hill and Jones and these guys when you haven’t got the organic growth coming from underneath.”