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Maister hopes to master matches

Jennifer Phelan  March 1, 2013 4:38 PM

Maister work Beau Maister (formerly Beau Wilkes) has played some fine football since joining the Saints
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Beau Maister rises high for the Saints in the NAB Cup first round

We've got a forward line full of some of the best all-time forwards
A FULL pre-season and an enhanced understanding of the game plan and its structures are reasons why Beau Maister is optimistic he can build on his 2012 form and become a regular for St Kilda this season.

The newly-named Maister, formerly Wilkes, has not missed a session across summer and has got through without having to manage an injury.

He also believes that with a year as a Saint under his belt, he's better poised to consistently make an impact at the club after playing nearly half of last season.

"Last year was a challenging year and I was happy to a degree to get 10 games, but I'm really striving to improve on that this year," Maister told AFL.com.au.

"As much as it's never easy because it's very demanding what we do, being my second year this year I've become closer with certain guys and I feel a bit more comfortable around the club.

"I know the structures a lot more now than when I came straight in last year.

"Body wise I've felt good, I've done as much as I think I could have training load wise.

"I haven't missed a main session, so that always leaves you in good stead."

Maister, who legally changed his surname last month to that of his mother Margaret, played in rounds five, seven and eight before a further seven games between rounds 15 and 23 last year.

He kicked 15 goals, including five against Melbourne in round 20, and took the fourth most marks inside 50 of any St Kilda player, despite only playing 10 games.

Maister said he was determined to make sure he was considered for senior selection each week after becoming more confident with the Saints' game plan.

"By no means (do) I want to be sitting out of the side at any stage of the year. I want to be featuring in the 22 as much as possible," he said.

"That's what every player on the list is striving towards.

"From an individual point of view, I want to put my name forward each week to be in that 22 and I'll be doing everything possible to do that."

The Saints are not without forward line flexibility. There are the obvious options of Nick Riewoldt, Justin Koschitzke, Rhys Stanley and Ben McEvoy, with new recruits Tom Lee, Tom Hickey and Spencer White adding new possibilities.

Then there's the smaller guys – Stephen Milne, Ahmed Saad, Adam Schneider and new recruits Trent Dennis-Lane and Brodie Murdoch.

Maister said the experience of Riewoldt, Koschitzke and Milne within the structure was invaluable, and the level of competition in the group was important.  

"It's depth at the end of the day (that) we've got, and we can ask each other certain things and we've got a forward line full of some of the best all-time forwards," he said.

"It's just a matter of all knowing our roles and playing them to the best of our ability and helping each other through.

"We just try and get the job done each week, whether it means we play one tall, five smalls, three talls, three smalls to get the win. That's the most important thing.

"At the end of the day, it's the forward structure that the coaches need and want and it's not only me but all the players that need to respect that."

Now living in Mordialloc, Maister and his partner Rebecca visited Perth over the pre-season break to visit family.  

Such is his level of contentment with where he's currently at, Maister said returning to Melbourne afterwards felt like coming home from a holiday.

"We're enjoying it and it's a challenge and an adventure for Rebecca and I, and we're loving it," he said.

"It's always hard [to move away] but I'm from Albany and I moved up to Perth at an early age to pursue footy and my career – I was an apprentice carpenter at the age of 17.

"I got used to it but for Rebecca to move it was tougher because she's one of four children and it was tough to move from the big family.

"We lean on each other and support each other and that's the way it should be."

Beau Maister is a forward in NAB AFL Fantasy. He averaged 55.8 points in 2012. Register your team at our AFL Fantasy Hub.

Jennifer Phelan is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow her on Twitter @AFL_JenPhelan.