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Billings tinkering with routine to be runway ready

Josh Gabelich  February 7, 2018 11:03 AM

AFL 2018 Media - AFLX Tournaments Launch

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 6: North Melbourne player Shaun Atley and St Kilda player Jack Billings speak to the media during the AFLX Tournaments Launch at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media)

Without giving too much away, I’ve just changed my run-up a little bit and just got it a lot smoother.

Rising St Kilda star Jack Billings has tinkered with his set shot routine this summer as he looks to capitalise on his scoring opportunities in 2018.

Much like the Saints last season, Billings was wasteful in front of goal converting only 39 per cent of his shots, with his tally of 23.36 taking some of the gloss off a year that may have seen him enter All-Australian calculations if he had been more damaging.

Speaking at the launch of AFLX on Tuesday, the 22-year-old said he has worked closely with St Kilda’s new goalkicking coach, Ben Dixon, in recent months and is confident the changes he has made to his technique will help improve his conversion.

“(Dixon) has come in and, not only me, but a lot of the forwards have worked pretty closely with him,” Billings said.

“He’s been really great and hopefully we can see the good signs this year, but I guess you’ve just got to wait and see.

“Without giving too much away, I’ve just changed my run-up a little bit and just got it a lot smoother and tried to make it more similar to my field kicking.

“That’s been the main thing and it’s working well at the moment, so hopefully it can continue.”

Billings was one of the most improved players at Linen House Centre in 2017, finishing fifth in the Trevor Barker Award after playing every game in a season littered with dominant performances.

The 2013 No. 3 pick is looking to divide his team between half-forward and through the midfield this winter as he looks to take his game to another level.

“(I) probably spent more time forward last year, so the aim this year is to hopefully spend about half and half,” ­he said.

“I’ve just kept trying to ­improve my running capacity and my strength, which I think I’ve been able to do, and just training a lot more with the midfield.

“As a team, we just want to play finals, so everyone needs to stand up and go to that next level if we want to do that.”