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Richardson: I thought ‘Brucey’ was really good

JLT2 Post-match: Alan Richardson (03/08) Alan Richardson spoke to the media post our JLT2 lose to Melbourne.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 8: Josh Bruce of the Saints celebrates a goal 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)
Key forward Josh Bruce booted three goals in the third quarter on Thursday night.

St Kilda key forward Josh Bruce has drawn praise from Coach Alan Richardson following his strong return against Melbourne at Casey Fields on Thursday night.

After playing in the reserves before last week’s game at Ikon Park, Bruce put his hand up for a Round 1 berth on the back of kicking three goals from 13 disposals and six marks – five taken inside 50.

“I thought ‘Brucey’ was really good. I thought he worked hard and I thought he competed well,” Richardson told reporters after Thursday night’s JLT Community Series game.

“He had quite a few shots on goal – three of them went through, which was pleasing.

“He’s worked really hard on his craft so I thought it was a really pleasing game from ‘Brucey’.”

With St Kilda’s season opener against Brisbane at Etihad Stadium just over two weeks away, the Saints’ match committee has plenty to think about.

Richardson said pre-season fixtures provide an opportunity to experiment with formations, but the addition of Bruce alongside Paddy McCartin and Tim Membrey looked more dangerous than without the former Giant.

“That’s the beauty of practice matches. We’ve had the opportunity to look at three different rucks; we’ve had the opportunity to look at a couple of different setups (in attack),” Richardson said.

“Last week was what you’d consider the smaller setup. This week we brought in ‘Brucey’ as well and at times it looked pretty potent and really effective.

“It probably looked more effective this week than last and that’s the beauty of practice matches. You get the opportunity to try different formations.”

Richardson also lauded the form of dashing defender Shane Savage after the 27-year-old put the gloss on an eye-catching pre-season in Cranbourne.

Savage followed up strong efforts in AFLX and against Carlton with 27 disposals, seven inside 50s, five rebound 50s and a goal on the run from inside the centre square.

“Like many of our guys, Sav has had a really strong, uninterrupted pre-season,” he said.

“He has probably been our most consistent player in the eight quarters that we’ve played.”