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Saints dust off the cobwebs at Trevor Barker Oval

Josh Gabelich  February 9, 2018 2:39 PM

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Budding star Jade Gresham turned it on in St Kilda's match simulation at Trevor Barker Oval.

St Kilda dusted off the cobwebs at Trevor Barker Oval on Friday, playing three 20-minute periods of match simulation ahead of next Friday’s AFLX competition and the JLT Community Series.

Almost every player on the Saints’ list featured in the game, with a handful of senior players and some budding stars getting their years off to a strong start.

Jack Steven buzzed around in his usual fashion for large parts of the hit-out, Seb Ross, Jack Sinclair and Koby Stevens got their hands on plenty of the ball through the middle of the ground, while David Armitage should no signs of the groin issues that hampered him last year.

Young gun Jade Gresham dazzled at different stages, looking dangerous around stoppages and inside 50.

In one of the best moments in the game, Gresham leapt over the top of Jimmy Webster to take a big grab in the first period. He also laid a couple of big tackles and kicked a couple of goals to remind onlookers of his class.

A leaner Mav Weller, who has shed eight kilograms off his frame this summer, made an impact in the attacking half of the ground and produced one of the more memorable moments of the day when he mowed down Irishman Darragh Joyce in a bone-crunching tackle.

St Kilda’s two top-10 picks from last November’s National Draft, Hunter Clark and Nick Coffield, both demonstrated why they are so highly rated, standing out with their composure with ball in hand and clean disposal.

After making a damaging start, Jack Billings was rested for the final two periods. Nathan Freeman and Darren Minchington were injected into the game at that stage and both made an impact across the final two periods.

With Josh Bruce sidelined as he nears a return from minor knee surgery, Paddy McCartin was the focal point deep in attack and despite attracting a crowd whenever he went near the ball, the 21-year-old hauled in a couple of strong pack marks to showcase his unstoppable overhead marking.

While Nathan Brown and Josh Battle faced off all day, Tim Membrey and Jake Carlisle went head-to-head in the most intriguing match-up of the game. Membrey got on the end of a few, looking dangerous in the air and on the ground, while Carlisle marshalled the defenders around him.

Rowan Marshall split his time in the ruck and inside 50 where he provided a strong contest all day against Tom Hickey, who took another step forward in his return from a shoulder reconstruction.

With Leigh Montagna in the early stages of retirement, Brandon White pressed his case to replace the dual All-Australian across half-back this season, using his potent left foot to dictate play from the defensive 50.

When the final whistle ended proceedings, more punishment followed for the entire group, with High Performance Manager Matt Hornsby finishing the session with an intense running session to put the finishing touches on a positive day for the Saints.