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'Kick in the guts' propels Bruce forward

Josh Gabelich  June 19, 2017 2:02 PM

A Bruce bomb after a Roo's howler Lachie Hansen drops a sitter and Josh Bruce reaps the reward
AFL 2017 Round 13 - North Melbourne v St Kilda

Josh Bruce has taken eight marks inside 50 in the last two weeks.

It’s one of those things in footy, it’s a good little reminder that no one is safe.

St Kilda key forward Josh Bruce admits he was stung by being dropped last month but the decision was the right thing to do and has helped propel him back into form.

The 25-year-old spearhead was sent back to Sandringham after St Kilda’s win over Carlton in Round 8, but after recapturing touch gradually in three games in the reserves, Bruce has carried that form since returning to Alan Richardson's team.

After booting four goals from 13 disposals and seven marks upon return in Adelaide last weekend, the former Greater Western Sydney defender provided a key focal point against North Melbourne, finishing with two goals from 11 disposals and seven marks.

“I was a little bit upset (when dropped). He (Alan Richardson) told me earlier in the week so I could deal with it,” Bruce told ABC Grandstand on Saturday following the 17-point win on Friday night.

“Essentially he said he wanted me to complete my plays a bit more, to take the marks that I should and kick the goals that I should and find a little bit of form in terms of that aspect.

“It was a bit of a kick in the guts, but I’ve implemented a few things and feel like I’ve come back a better player for it.

“There was a little bit of anger – not at the coach but anger at the situation that I didn’t want to be in.

“It’s one of those things in footy, it’s a good little reminder that no one is safe. There’s definitely a validation in if guys aren’t in form, go back to the VFL and find some form. It worked for me.”

One player who has reached new heights this season is young gun Jack Billings, although the football gods weren’t on his side against the Kangaroos.

Billings twice had goals reversed by the video review for being slightly touched off the boot, meaning four goals dissolved into two by the end of the night.

“I was with him on the bench after his second goal, which was another right foot snap just touched the fingertips,” Bruce said.

“He was a little bit flat, you could just see it in his eyes. He bounced back well and had a terrific game, but he could have really had a day out.”

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