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JLT 2 v Melbourne - Talking Points

Josh Gabelich  March 8, 2018 10:47 PM

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 8: Jack Billings of the Saints in action during the AFL 2018 JLT Community Series match between the Melbourne Demons and the St Kilda Saints at Casey Fields on March 8, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 8: Jack Billings of the Saints in action during the AFL 2018 JLT Community Series match between the Melbourne Demons and the St Kilda Saints at Casey Fields on March 8, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

Saints overcome sluggish start with electric third quarter

It didn’t look great early, that’s for sure. But after regrouping at the main break, St Kilda found some form in a dominant 30-minute patch to build some confidence leading into Round 1. Despite registering four less inside 50s, the Saints converted 6.3 from 12 entries in a quarter where they amassed 30 more touches. Shane Savage was on fire dashing off half-back, and after working his way into the game, Josh Bruce sprung to life in the third quarter, booting three majors to press his claims for a Round 1 berth. Saints fans breathed a sigh of relief at three-quarter time, that’s for sure.

Steven sends scare through Saints’ camp

After being one of St Kilda’s best players in a slow opening half, Jack Steven hobbled off the ground in the arms of the doctors towards the end of the third quarter, putting a scare through the Saints’ camp. The three-time Trevor Barker Award winner has rolled his ankle and should be fit to face Brisbane at Etihad Stadium in 16 days time. Steven had followed up his strong performance against Carlton with 19 disposals, five clearances and four tackles against the Demons before sitting out the final quarter as a precautionary.

Star midfielder just keeps keeping on

Reigning Trevor Barker Award winner Seb Ross appears set for another big year ahead after he put the gloss on a big pre-season with another strong effort in the JLT Community Series. The 24-year-old was one of only a few Saints to get off to a flying start, collecting 12 touches by the first break, before finishing with 29 disposals – the most of on the ground. After going from good to very good in 2017, can Ross entrench himself amid the best midfielders in the competition this winter?

Billings finds form and touch ahead of round 1

In one of the major positives of the night, budding young gun Jack Billings found some touch and match fitness ahead of the season opener. The 22-year-old missed last Wednesday night’s loss to Carlton due to a minor hamstring strain, but quickly put any concern to bed by amassing 10 disposals by the first break. He finished with 24 touches at a polished 88 per cent efficiency rate, helping set up the Saints’ forays forward between the arcs.

Is there room for top picks in first 22 picked?

Have Hunter Clark and Nick Coffield done enough to be in Alan Richardson’s Round 1 side? That’s one of the big questions leading into the first game of the season against Brisbane at Etihad Stadium. Coffield appears ready to step into the shoes left vacant by retired great Leigh Montagna, after producing another eye-catching display against the Dees. The 8th pick in last year’s NAB AFL Draft finished with 17 possessions in another composed performance that stamped his class. Clark was less prolific across half-forward, but kicked another classy snap, to go with his two last week, and showed glimpses of his talent.