The Northern Territory news Fri 12 Jul 2013
The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT
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News Corp Australia
www.ntnews.com.au Friday, July 12, 2013. NT NEWS. 25 P U B : NTNE-WS-DA-TE:12-JGE:25 CO-LO-R: C-M Y-K Milne fronts up By JON RALPH RETURNING St Kilda veteran Stephen Milne has eight rounds to convince the Saints he deserves to play on next year. Milne was yesterday recalled to take on Mick Malthouses Carlton tomorrow after a three-week absence since he was charged with rape. A decision on Milnes future is complex and one of a raft of tough list decisions confronting coach Scott Watters. The second-year coach faces the biggest test of his list rebuild given he could have 10 players 30 or older next year. Those players are Lenny Hayes, Jason Blake, Milne, Sam Fisher, Nick Riewoldt, Justin Koschitzke, Leigh Montagna, Nick Dal Santo, Sean Dempster and Adam Schneider. While Milne was recalled alongside captain Nick Riewoldt, Justin Koschitzke (199 games) missed out, with Ahmed Saad and Nathan Wright dropped. Preliminary talks had begun about the prospect of a one-year deal for Milne before his rape charges, with the veteran to face court on September 13 for a committal mention. He would have to play exceptional football after 18 goals from 10 matches to convince St Kilda he is worth a new deal given there could be a rape trial next year. But if he was exonerated of the charges at a committal hearing before the last list lodgement date in midDecember there could be a glimmer of hope. On pure form, St Kildas most successful goalkicker since the Tony LockettStewart Loewe era could play on, but the list is in transition with a host of small and mid-sized forwards like Tom Lee and Arryn Siposs. Veterans Riewoldt, Fisher, and Montagna are contracted and considered very much needed at the club, with Dempster also certain to go on. But Koschitzke and Blake will retire, Milne and Hayes could retire, and Dal Santo could be trade bait despite being contracted. Dal Santo has a deal at St Kilda next year as long as he passes a simple medical examination which triggers a clause in his contract. But he is the obvious candidate should St Kilda try to trade into the national draft earlier or even ponder a package which might lure them No. 1 draft pick Tom Boyd. A club like Essendon might believe a beautiful ball user like Dal Santo could cap off their midfield, in exchange for one of their clutch of tall defenders. The clubs realigned salary cap structure has them with significant room to go after a young defender, with the search to again begin at West Coasts Mitch Brown. The decision not to sign Brendon Goddard cleared as much as $650,000 of salary cap space per year, while former million-dollar man Riewoldt is now on about half of that per season. The club also has Koschitzkes $500,000-per-season deal, which will clear more space when he retires. Watters said recently the club knew it was on the right track with its rebuilding program. We understand that a large portion of our list needs to be developed and grow. But were excited by that. Hayes is 34, Milne and Blake are 33, Fisher is 31, Riewoldt and Koschitzke are 30, and Montagna, Dal Santo, Schneider and Dempster will all be 30 next season.