Stephen Silvagni in stunning AFL reunion with Ross Lyon at St Kilda
The Saints are looking to reverse their AFL fortunes by bringing back more high-profile hires alongside Ross Lyon.
St Kilda has continued its dramatic off-field revamp ahead of the 2023 AFL season, with the club recruiting Stephen Silvagni as list manager. The Carlton legend re-joins the Saints alongside the rehired Ross Lyon, after a stint as assistant coach from 2007 to 2010.
The Saints made the drastic move of sacking head coach Brett Ratten soon after the end of the 2022 season, despite having agreed to an extension with him just months earlier. Lyon, who guided St Kilda to grand final appearances in 2009 and 2010, was brought back into the fold amid a major review of the club's football operations.
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It will be Silvagni's first official job at an AFL club since his acrimonious split from the Blues at the end of 2019 after five years as Carlton's list manager. The 312-game great worked at GWS when the club was admitted into the AFL ahead of the 2012 season, before his switch to the Blues.
The Saints were well-placed for a finals finish mid-way through last season, before an astonishing collapse saw them tumble from the top four to out of contention completely. Ratten was sacked as a result, with veteran administrator Geoff Walsh brought in to get the Saints back on track.
In addition to Silvagni's appointment, the experienced Geoff Allan has been promoted to head of talent, having worked in an advisory role for the last five years. Club CEO Simon Lethlean said the appointments were crucial in the club's hopes of climbing the ladder.
"It is an exciting time for the club to have two highly experienced football administrators come together to support the program," St Kilda chief executive Simon Lethlean said. "Given Graeme's existing advisory role, his appointment to our head of talent and acquisition ensures a smooth transition, while Stephen adds another layer of experience to the program.
"Stephen will be focused on developing the club's overall list strategy, while supporting Graeme and the wider recruitment team with talent identification and acquisition as the club seeks to bolster and develop its list."
Stephen Silvagni returns to St Kilda as list manager - 16 years after arriving as assistant coach to close mate Ross Lyon
— Mitch Cleary (@cleary_mitch) January 27, 2023
Great move 👏 ❤️🤍🖤
— Joshua Ahearn (@jjahearn) January 27, 2023
Carlton royalty, an absolute disgrace what they did to him.
— theRealMarkSheppard (@theRealMarkShep) January 27, 2023
Legend returns to St Kilda, but Max King injury spoils pre-season
St Kilda also welcomed the return of club great Robert Harvey as an assistant coach, but things haven't been going all their way. Star forward Max King is expected to miss almost the entire season after injuring his shoulder in a pre-season marking contest.
A proper timeline for his return will be established after surgery, but it is expected to be a long-term recovery for King, who is pivotal to St Kilda's forward line. Drafted fourth overall by the Saints in 2018, King missed his entire rookie season after tearing his ACL and requiring a knee reconstruction.
St Kilda football boss Geoff Walsh said there was no doubt King's injury was a bitter blow for the club. The timing couldn't be worse for the Saints, with the pressure on to show improvement under the returning Lyon.
"This is an extremely disappointing setback for Max," said in a club statement. "He had come back for pre-season in really great condition, which is a credit to his professionalism; a trait we know will stand him in good stead as he works through his rehab over the next few months.
"The recovery and rehabilitation period for this injury will be a number of months, which we will provide updates on as he progresses through his rehab program. Suffice to say his return to play will not be until the season is well underway."
St Kilda will open their 2023 campaign with Lyon back at the helm in a grudge match against Fremantle - the club that sacked him three years ago - at Marvel Stadium on March 19.
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