St Kilda were the big movers in AFL season 2016, rising from 14th on the ladder in 2015 to finish 9th, missing out on a finals birth due to percentage.
The Saints are clearly heading in the right direction but do they have what it takes to make the next step? Here is our preview of their chances this year.
2016 position: 9th
2017 Fixture Difficulty Rating: 7/10
Off season movements:
ARRIVALS: Ben Long, Josh Battle, Ed Phillips, Jack Steele (GWS), Koby Stevens (Western Bulldogs), Nathan Brown (Collingwood)
DEPARTURES: Sam Fisher, Tom Curren, Luke Delaney, Tom Lee, Brodie Murdoch, Brenton Payne, Josh Saunders, Cameron Shenton, Eli Templeton
St Kilda look to be in it up to their eyeballs for a finals birth and only need to win an extra game or two to feature in their first campaign since 2011.
CrownBet have installed the Saints at the odds of $2.50 for a top eight spot, while they are $1.50 to miss out on the September action.
Improvement should come in the form of Jake Carlisle, who missed the entire 2016 season due to suspension, while Nathan Freeman is another that missed and can put his hand up for selection.
Jack Steele, Koby Stevens and Nathan Brown arrive from other clubs and should add some much needed depth to the Saints list and we can look forward to the continued development of Tim Membrey, Josh Bruce and Paddy McCartin, who combined to form a dynamic forward line in 2016.
St Kilda's coach, Alan Richardson, will need to find ways for his side to perform better interstate. They were ordinary on the road last season and suffered huge losses to Adelaide, West Coast and Gold Coast in their last three interstate trips.
In 2017 they face six interstate trips, including two each to Western Australia and South Australia. Results in these games will determine whether or not they play finals in 2017.
A huge bonus for the Saints is that they play 14 games at Etihad Stadium, including 12 of their first 16. They were excellent at Etihad last year and face their bunnies, Melbourne, at the venue in Round 1.
In other betting, St Kilda are rated a $26 chance of winning the AFL Premiership and while some silverware may appear to be a few years away, they are in a very similar position to what the Western Bulldogs were a couple of years ago.
In individual player markets, Jack Steven is their leading Brownlow Medal hope at $29, while Tim Membrey is a $41 chance of claiming the Coleman Medal.
Key betting odds
Premiership: $26 CrownBet
Top 8: $2.50 CrownBet
To Miss Top 8: $1.50 CrownBet
Brownlow: Jack Steven $29 bet365
Coleman Medal: Tim Membrey $41 sportsbet
Season Wins- Over 10.5 $1.92 sportsbet
St Kilda is a serious chance of making finals and the $2.50 looks to be value. The safe play may be to take them for over 10.5 season wins.