New Zealand-born St Kilda AFL utility Shane Savage is confident the Saints are making progress in their push into the Kiwi market.
Adam Schneider’s suspension has opened the door for New Zealand-born Shane Savage to return to St Kilda’s side for Friday’s game against Brisbane in Wellington.
Savage is an ambassador for the Saints, his new club, as they attempt to gain a foothold in New Zealand.
The Anzac-Day game will be the second AFL match played for premiership points outside Australia, following last year’s encounter between St Kilda and Sydney in Wellington.
Ex-Hawk Savage was dropped by the Saints after round four but after a 27-possession performance in the VFL last weekend, the utility is pushing for a recall for Friday’s game.
The Saints have surprised most observers with a strong start to their new era under coach Alan Richardson, charging up to ninth spot on the ladder with a 3-2 record after upsetting Essendon in round five.
Savage, who came to the Saints as part of the trade that sent ruckman Ben McEvoy to Hawthorn, says he has a good feeling about the club’s push into the Kiwi market.
“It feels great,” he told reporters at Wellington airport on Tuesday.
“To be playing on Anzac Day is a really exciting time.”
Savage said his family left Auckland when he was two.
“I have a lot of family over here still, my grandparents are in Auckland,” he said.
“We’re not trying to come over here and take over.
“We think there is a lot of talent over here and a lot of athletes who can be really good AFL players.”
Savage is putting his hand up for a small-forward’s role following Schneider’s one-match ban for striking Essendon’s Mark Baguley.
“Going back to the VFL, I’ve got some form under my belt,” Savage said.
“I’ve played a bit of half-forward and wing over my career so I can play that role.”