Just two days after announcing that James Gwilt and Clint Jones won’t be returning in 2015, St Kilda has confirmed the delisting of fringe players Trent Dennis-Lane and Sam Dunell.
The departures are probably the least surprising we will hear this offseason, given that both had extremely limited opportunities under rookie coach Alan Richardson.
The Saints’ recruitment of Trent Dennis-Lane – on a two-year deal, no less – was as puzzling at the time as it was throughout his time with the club. Despite displaying only fair-to-middling form in his 19 games across three seasons with Sydney, then Saints coach Scott Watters secured the forward’s services in return for a late draft pick. Watters showed a penchant for recruiting mediocre West Australian players throughout his brief tenure, and Dennis-Lane can undoubtedly be seen as a poster boy for this ill-fated policy.
Dennis-Lane featured in just 10 games in his two years with the Saints, and just one in 2014. An extremely limited player, the 26-year-old booted just nine goals for the club and, like Dunell, was certainly a more damaging player at Sandringham than with the Saints.
Will he be picked up elsewhere? Only if AFL clubs suddenly demonstrate a willingness to pick up ordinary one-trick ponies that sporadically apply defensive pressure and pick up less than 10 possessions per outing. So, um, no.
In Major League Baseball, the level below the majors is called AAA, or triple-A. In that sport, players often slog through several years in the minor leagues before reaching the top tier, although some never reach the majors. Players seen to dominate AAA but struggle once in the majors are often termed AAAA, or quadruple-a.
Such a description applies to Dunell, who seemed to feature in the best players week in, week out with Sandringham but was never able to carry his solid VFL form into the seniors when called up.
Dunell was probably unfairly starved of opportunities, playing just 12 games across his three years despite his consistency in the VFL. But Dunell’s best position was never clear. Was he a half-forward? Half-back? Wingman? Dunell’s inability to make any one position his own was likely a contributor to his delisting this week.
[quote]Will he be picked up elsewhere? Only if AFL clubs suddenly demonstrate a willingness to pick up ordinary one-trick ponies that sporadically apply defensive pressure and pick up less than 10 possessions per outing. [/quote]
It was pretty clear by midseason that Dennis-Lane and Dunell were not in the long-term plans of either Alan Richardson or Chris Pelchen. On the field, the players will be missed far more keenly at Sandringham than at Seaford, and you can expect both to catch on in one of the state leagues next season. It would be shocking if either is recruited to an AFL list in 2015.
The Saints have now parted company with six players, with Dennis-Lane and Dunell joining the delisted James Gwilt and Clinton Jones and retired Lenny Hayes and Beau Maister. Flanker Terry Milera is also seeking a return to South Australia. The cull may not stop at that septet, with Richardson and Pelchen on record as saying they will make deep cuts to the Saints’ list as they look to rebuild the club. Watch this space.
HAVE YOUR SAY: What do you make of the decision to delist Trent Dennis-Lane and Sam Dunell?