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Savage start to the year

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 28: Shane Savage of the Saints in action 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)
Shane Savage has started the year in blistering form and full of confidence.

Shane Savage has started the year in blistering form and full of confidence.

After finishing the 2017 season on a high, the defender has carried his form through the pre-season and emerged as a genuine attacking weapon.

The 27-year-old was prolific through the inaugural AFLX tournament, his speed on display as he took advantage of the smaller ground to boot two zooper goals – including one from the centre ‘X’.

A strong showing in the JLT Series saw him record 21 disposals and seven marks against Carlton, ramping it up again a week later to finish with 27 touches, seven inside 50ms and four tackles against Melbourne.

He hit the scoreboard as well, slotting a goal from outside-50 while getting his teammates involved through two goal assists.

“My confidence is up at the moment,” Savage said.

“Consistency has been the key, but it will mean nothing if I don’t come in and perform in Round 1”.

A down patch had Savage play just one senior game between Round 4 and Round 15 last year before bouncing back in the second-half of the season.

He turned his 2017 season around in Round 16, earning a spot in Alan Richardson’s side and holding his place for the remainder of the year.

“The way I responded gave me a lot of confidence to attack the pre-season,” he said.

“It’s followed through the JLT Series and hopefully it can transcend into Round 1.”

While a slow start hurt the Saints against Melbourne, a dominant six-goal third term gave fans a glimpse of what their team is capable of.

“The third quarter was really positive, and we should take a lot out of that. We just need to turn that into four quarters,” Savage said.

“You can see how damaging we are when we’re composed, we’re going after our kicks and we’re defending like we were.”

With just 10 days until Round 1’s clash with Brisbane, the focus has now turned to the season opener on March 24.

“We’ll have team meetings, go through what we need to improve on and things like that,” he said.

“It’s all about getting kilometres under the legs, recovering well and getting mentally and physically prepared for Round 1.”