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Another kick in the right direction

Josh Gabelich  February 5, 2018 9:55 AM

Versatile midfielder Blake Acres has been one of the prime movers on the track this pre-season.

Versatile midfielder Blake Acres has been one of the prime movers on the track this pre-season.

This season it's about being able to hit the harder kicks, the kicks that Jack Billings, Shane Savage and Jimmy Webster can all hit.

West Australian midfielder Blake Acres took a step forward last year and now he wants to put his feet to even better use in 2018.

The 22-year-old, along with a flock of St Kilda’s next generation, has been a driving force this summer, setting the tone for what looms as an important year ahead for not only the club, but for himself too.

One of the more athletically gifted and versatile midfielders at Linen House Centre, Acres’ kicking efficiency has let him down at times across his first four years at the highest level.

But after improving his efficiency from 60.8 per cent in 2016 to 69.1 last year, the 2013 first round pick is looking to become more damaging by foot this year.

"Going into last pre-season I was told I need to work on my efficiency, and that got a lot better during the year," Acres told afl.com.au

"But this season it's about being able to hit the harder kicks, the kicks that Jack Billings, Shane Savage and Jimmy Webster can all hit. 

"I've tried to keep it pretty simple, until I can actually hit those kicks, but I'm trying to add that to my game.

"If I train it here and earn the trust of the group, then I can go for them on game day." 

After working his way back from two stints at Sandringham last season to play a career-high 18 games, Acres feels more confident about his place in the team, but he is by no means comfortable just yet.

"I got drafted with Jack (Billings) and Luke (Dunstan) and they both played really early on, so watching them play every game probably drove me a bit more," he said. 

"I've still got to worry about a spot, but I don't have to go out there at training and kill someone else to get a spot.

"I can focus on the stuff I need to focus on and not have to worry about that all the time."

With 44 games next to his name, Acres is poised to strike in 2018.