Saints' recruitment success key for Crouch

Anna Harrington
·2-min read

New Saint Brad Crouch says St Kilda's success with bedding in their recent recruits played a crucial role in his decision to join the AFL club.

Crouch landed at St Kilda late on Wednesday after Adelaide elected not to match the Saints' offer to the restricted free agent, netting a compensation draft pick at the start of the second round that is currently pick No.23.

This season, the Saints got the best out of former Tiger Dan Butler, while Zak Jones, Dougal Howard, Paddy Ryder and Brad Hill also slotted into their top 22 as they reached a semi-final.

"A couple of years ago, it would have been one of (those) things where you go 'oh I'm not sure about St Kilda'," Crouch told reporters on Thursday.

"But then the way they've gone over the last few years and the way they're going ... not just the form of (those) players but the whole way the club's going and led by (Brett Ratten), it seems just like it's going in the right direction.

"It got to the stage for me where it was just a complete no-brainer.

"The decision was just made and it was really clear for me."

The on-baller confirmed he'd had "some good conversations" with Geelong about moving to the Cats, including with former Crows teammate Patrick Dangerfield, but ultimately saw a more significant midfield role at St Kilda.

The Saints had made it clear they were unwilling to trade for Crouch if Adelaide matched their offer, but Crouch said he'd been willing to "go the journey" and even head to the pre-season draft if required.

"We were pretty confident they weren't going to match but I was definitely fully committed to the Saints as well," he said.

"So if it had to drag out, I was willing to go the journey with them."

The 26-year-old was allaying his nerves on the golf course when he learned Adelaide wouldn't match.

"That was pretty exciting when when it all got announced and I was on the third hole," Crouch said.

"I parred the first two holes then shot a nine on the third - my golf went downhill, big-time."

Crouch will miss the first two games of 2021 after he and former Adelaide teammate Tyson Stengle were found by police to be in possession of an illicit substance last month and were suspended by the AFL.

The 26-year-old, who plans to move back to Victoria in early December, said the incident had emphasised his desire for a "fresh start".