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JLT2 Squad: Billings, Bruce return for final pre-season clash

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 27: Jack Billings of the Saints celebrates a goal during the 2017 AFL round 23 match between the Richmond Tigers and the St Kilda Saints at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 27, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
St Kilda young gun Jack Billings will return from a minor hamstring on Thursday night.

St Kilda forwards Jack Billings and Josh Bruce will return in Thursday night’s final JLT Community game, after the Saints named a near full-strength side to face Melbourne at Casey Fields.

Billings missed the loss to Carlton at Ikon Park last Wednesday night due to a minor hamstring strain, while Bruce starred in the earlier game for Sandringham in his first game of the pre-season following knee surgery during the summer.

Ruckman Tom Hickey replaces injured big man Billy Longer, who tweaked his hip flexor in the game against the Blues.

St Kilda’s two top-10 selections from last November’s NAB AFL Draft, Hunter Clark (No. 7) and Nick Coffield (No. 8), have both been named on an extended bench after producing impressing efforts against the Blues.

Clark made an impact across half-forward last week, finishing with two goals and a goal assist from 12 disposals, while Coffield was prolific first-up, accumulating 20 disposals – the fourth most of any Saint – five rebound 50s and four inside 50s.

Star midfielder David Armitage will play again after making an impressive start to his season last week, following an injury-ravaged 2017. The Queenslander was one of the Saints’ best against the Blues, collecting 24 disposals and eight clearances.

Saints Coach Alan Richardson will combine Bruce with spearhead Josh Bruce and mobile forward Tim Membrey for the first time in the post-Nick Riewoldt era, and will be searching for more goals this week after the Saints kicked four fewer goals than the Blues despite generating 11 more inside 50s.

McCartin was one of the standouts at Carlton’s Headquarters last Wednesday night, bouncing up from a big collision early before finishing with 15 touches, five marks and four shots – two goals, one behind and one out on the full.

JLT2 Squad v Melbourne
Thursday, March 8
Casey Fields

B: Jarryn Geary, Nathan Brown, Dylan Roberton
HB: Jimmy Webster, Jake Carlisle, Shane Savage
C: Jack Newnes, David Armitage, Jack Sinclair
HB: Jack Billings, Paddy McCartin, Jack Steele
F: Jade Gresham, Tim Membrey, Josh Bruce
R: Tom Hickey, Seb Ross, Jack Steven
Interchange: Luke Dunstan, Blake Acres, Koby Stevens, Mav Weller, Sam Gilbert, Nick Coffield, Hunter Clark, Rowan Marshall
Emergencies: Jack Lonie, Nathan Wright, Brandon White, Logan Austin