Physicality was on the bill for this morning’s testing match simulation at RSEA Park, however it was the silk of Lance Collard which was arguably the standout six weeks out from St Kilda’s season opener.

The small forward’s flashes of speed and agility were on full display during the Saints’ three match sim blocks, roaring to life in the second term with a series of moments which were on the cusp of sensational.

A blistering dash from the wing to forward pocket - complete with four bounces - narrowly missed out on a classy goal to cap it off, an early Mark of the Year contender was just inches away from being snaffled, while a brilliant end-to-end play initiated by Darcy Wilson almost ended with another Collard major; all of which happened within the space of a few minutes. 


With forward staple Dan Butler currently overcoming an ankle injury, Collard (one goal) formed part of the Saints’ small fleet alongside Jack Higgins, who had first-year Angus Hastie for company in defence for most of the half-hour’s play.

“I thought Lance was really lively today. Certainly when the ball is in his area he’s dynamite,” Development Coach Lenny Hayes said.

“He chased really well, put some really good pressure on and then once he’s in space he’s pretty hard to stop.

“Not only him, I thought Hugo Garcia showed some really good signs, Darcy Wilson and Angus Hastie, they all had some really good moments, it was great. That’s what you want to see.”

The opening third focussed on stifling the opposition’s spring out of defence with play largely locked between the arcs, broken only by a Max King major on the stroke of the first change.

King and Brad Crouch sat out the final third as they continue to reintegrate back into full training, with the key forward going toe-to-toe with ruck-turned-defender Isaac Keeler and then Dougal Howard as the Saints tested a full-strength defence against a full-strength offence from the second term onwards.

Howard manned Anthony Caminiti in the final stanza as King completed an additional running drill, Callum Wilkie was tasked with reigning in Tim Membrey as Josh Battle completed the defensive tall timber trio against Cooper Sharman.

Liam Stocker showed good signs playing opposite Mitch Owens who also offered plenty, while Ryan Byrnes was placed off half-forward to have equal the amount of ball to his opponent, Riley Bonner.

Through the middle, Jack Steele’s voice and direction were unmissable, Marcus Windhager had some clean moments at ground level while lined up against the No. 9, while Hugo Garcia had some clever moments while in heavy traffic.

“I thought today was a great hit-out, really competitive, perfect conditions down here at Moorabbin and the boys got to work,” Hayes said.

I thought there was some really good offence being played and I thought our defence really responded today. We’ve put a fair bit of work into that over the last week.

- Development Coach Lenny Hayes

“We’re still working on all the phases of the game… but as we get a little bit more competitive drills in, we start to see how we’re actually moving the ball and how we’re actually defending it as well.”

St Kilda will take part in a match simulation session against Essendon on Friday 23 February and an official practice game against North Melbourne as part of the AFL Community Series on Sunday 3 March - both at RSEA Park - before its season opener against Geelong on Saturday 16 March at GMHBA Stadium.