CLASSY St Kilda forward Adam Schneider believes the Saints may have unearthed a possible star in the making with Eli Templeton.
But the five-time grand finalist was quick to hose down comparisons with former teammate Stephen Milne.
Templeton won plenty of fans during last Wednesday’s rain-soaked NAB Challenge clash against the Western Bulldogs at Simonds Stadium after kicking two brilliant goals in slippery conditions.
Taken with pick 3 in last year’s rookie draft, many believe the Saints have snared a bargain in the shaggy-haired Tasmanian — and Osborne junior Schneider agrees.
“I think we’ve got very lucky with him,” he said.
“He’s shown plenty at training.
“He’s an elite runner on the track and been fantastic.
“He’s a footballer and knows exactly what he needs to do.
“I think he’ll get a chance to show us what he’s got during the year.
“It’s great to get a guy like that.”
However, with just one flashy pre-season showing behind him, Schneider said comparisons with recently retired goalsneak Milne were off the mark.
Milne kicked 574 goals in his 275-game career with the Saints.
“They’re different players,” Schneider said.
“You can’t replace Milney, he’s probably one of a kind — he’ll tell you that himself.
“I see Eli more as a midfield-wing type player who gets his goals through gut-running.”
Schneider said fellow Saints’ youngsters Jack Billings, Luke Dunstan, Josh Saunders and Tom Lee had also impressed over the summer and that the club had the right mix of youth and experience heading into the season with names like Nick Riewoldt and Lenny Hayes still at the club.
“You need that good balance,” he said.
“I think it’s important for us at the moment to keep the guys nearing the end of their career around as well to help the young guys develop faster.
“We’ve got Lenny, who is nearly 40 but still a superstar of the game.
“Rooey is a freak and one of the best and we’ve got Leigh Montagna and Sam Fisher as well.
“There’s no better way for kids to learn than off players like that.”
Schneider said the Saints had one simple aim in Alan Richardson’s first year as coach.
“We just want to improve,” he said.
“By doing that, hopefully that means we’re winning more games than we did last year.
“We’ve done everything we can this pre-season, everyone is in good shape and there’s a good little buzz around the club.
“We’re going to be very attacking and take the game on this year.
“We’re not going to die wondering, anyway.
“We’ll go out there and back ourselves and try and be a hard team to play against.”