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VFL: Paton presses case

Young gun Ben Paton is on the cusp of an AFL debut after another strong performance in the VFL. - St Kilda Saints,VFL,Geelong Cats
Young gun Ben Paton is on the cusp of an AFL debut after another strong performance in the VFL.
There were some good signs with our intent to compete against a really strong and contested opposition.
Aaron Hamill

First-year Saint Ben Paton was a cut above in the VFL on Sunday afternoon despite Sandringham’s 28-point loss to Geelong at Trevor Barker Beach Oval.

Up against a very strong Cats outfit, the Zebras started on fire, booting six goals in the first term before the visitors took control to slot through ten majors to Sandringham’s four in the last three quarters.

WATCH: Ben Paton draft highlights

Paton continues to develop nicely at VFL level, with the 19-year-old’s two-goal haul the most recent of a string of strong outings that have undoubtedly caught the eye of Alan Richardson and his selection committee.

Defenders Brandon White and Hugh Goddard battled manfully in a back half that saw plenty of entries with Geelong’s strong targets, while Nathan Freeman put together another solid game to finish with 25 disposals.

Despite the loss, Sandringham coach Aaron Hamill was pleased with his side’s effort and intent but lamented key moments in the game where Geelong had the ascendency.

“There were some good signs with our intent to compete against a really strong and contested opposition, but they kicked eight goals into the breeze; along with a strong third quarter, that was probably the difference in the end,” Hamill told saints.com.au.

“Defensively, we were pretty strong and under a lot of pressure. We defended 24 inside-50s in the second quarter, so the pressure was enormous.

“The likes of Darragh Joyce, Hugh Goddard and Brandon White had some big names to mind in our back half, but they stood up really well.”

Hamill also praised the game of Nathan Freeman and Blake Acres’ second VFL game in his return from injury, where he finished with 21 disposals.

“‘Freeza’ (Nathan Freeman) defended really well through the midfield. We really like what he brings with his physicality, and he knows how to get his hands on the ball; he continues to build,” Hamill said.

“Blake (Acres) was more dynamic last week, but we were pleased with his ability inside the contest combined with his run and spread on the outside.

“He puts himself up for AFL selection now, but like ‘Freezer’, he’s building nicely for a return to senior level.”

Sandringham is back for another consecutive week at Trevor Barker Beach Oval in Round 16, where it will host the top-of-the-table Richmond at 2pm on Sunday 22 July.

Sandringham      6.4         6.5         9.8         10.9 (69)
Geelong             
4.0         8.6         12.7       14.13 (97)

Goals:   Answerth 2, Paton 2, Lamb, Smith, Haidon, Bailey, Connellan, Owens

Best:     Freeman, Paton, White, Goddard, McLean, Answerth