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Rust shaken off, Saints ready to find form

Press conference: Nathan Brown (03/07) Nathan Brown spoke to the media ahead of our JLT2 match against Melbourne. (Wednesday 7 March, 2018)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 28: Jack Silvagni of the Blues and Nathan Brown of the Saints lookson during the AFL 2018 JLT Community Series match between the Carlton Blues and the St Kilda Saints at Ikon Park on February 28, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Nathan Brown has quickly become a crucial cog in St Kilda's spine.
We’re looking forward to having another crack at it against Melbourne and preparing for Round 1.
Nathan Brown

St Kilda key defender Nathan Brown admits last week’s performance against Carlton 'wasn’t up to scratch’, but after blowing out the cobwebs the Saints are determined to find some form against Melbourne.

Despite generating 11 more inside 50s and eight more clearances, St Kilda didn’t adjust to the windy conditions at Ikon Park, wasting their advantage around the ball in a less than impressive start to the year.

“Over the years you find that first real hit-out against opposition there is a lot of rust to shake off,” Brown told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.

“We weren’t up to scratch against Carlton.

“Every time we step out there we want to play our way and our brand, so we’re looking forward to having another crack at it against Melbourne and preparing for Round 1.”

Classy half-forward Jack Billings and key forward Josh Bruce return for Thursday night’s final JLT Community Series game, with only ruckman Billy Longer missing from Alan Richardson’s best team.

Brown praised Bruce’s performance in the earlier game last week, which forced the match committee’s hand this week, with the key forward getting some much-needed match fitness under his belt after an interrupted summer on the track.

“Those inclusions really set us up in attack and they are really great contest players, so they will keep their defenders accountable,” he said.

“‘Brucey’ was fantastic in the reserves game last week, so I’m looking forward to having him back out there.”

Melbourne comprehensively outplayed North Melbourne in the opening game of the JLT Community Series nearly a fortnight ago and have picked a near full-strength side, with only co-captain Jack Viney and four-time premiership star Jordan Lewis missing.