When it comes to the big-ticket areas St Kilda is looking to bolster in terms of fast ball movement, pace and efficiency heading into attack, Liam Henry is at the heart of all three.

It’s exactly what the former Docker was brought into the club to do, and although taking some time to get fully firing after suffering a high-grade hamstring strain back in Round 2, the past month with his extended stints on-ball and rotations through centre bounces have yielded some very promising signs.

To the eye, Henry's constant business and manic-like pressure is exciting to watch. There’s the nagging feeling something is going to happen when he’s around the ball, be it a little knock-on, a hounding presence to put the heat on his opponents or — best of all — an electrifying burst, pick-up and explosion out from congestion to propel his side into attack.


All were on display against Sydney this weekend just gone as Henry’s 20 disposals, 10 score involvements and 23 pressure acts played a pivotal role in St Kilda’s eventual heart-racing triumph.

Visually, it’s impressive. Statistically, it’s validated.

His third quarter against the Swans was a head-turner, with nine disposals, two inside-50s, a clearance, a goal assist to Cooper Sharman for a mark and goal, plus one of his own. Just a few weeks ago, his fourth quarter against Brisbane scored 13.9 rating points, the second-best final quarter by any AFL player and the highest number by a Saint in any quarter this year.

Additionally, Champion Data rates Henry as the sixth-most impactful general forward or midfielder-forward this year.

“I think that’s my ability and that’s who I am as a player,” Henry said post-game.

Robert Harvey and Ross and all the coaches that are really behind me… the players are continuing to back me in week in week out just to bring my strengths.

“Unfortunately I was in a rhythm and then I got injured and was out of it for a long stint, but what I’ve done off-field to try and get back into what I need to do really resonates.”


Henry’s foot-skills heading into attack have been equally important in his first 10 games in red, white and black. 

The Saints have retained 50 per cent of his average of four inside-50s per game, but Henry has also impacted on the scoreboard himself more directly with seven goals of his own 14 additional assists to sit in the competition’s top 20 per cent of players for that stat.

Henry’s efforts against Sydney were taxing physically for the pacy on-baller, but were well worth it by game’s end as the Saints came to the table against their top-shelf opponents.

“The words can’t come to mind, but physically I’m feeling that was a hard game,” Henry added.

“We knew what Sydney were going to bring, we knew what we had to work on from last week. We’re not really getting the results on the board, but internally we know we’re doing well.

“We’re playing good footy, the crowd is showing up and we want to play more than just for us: we want to play for the fans, the coaching staff, for one another and for the wider world that’s still tuning in to us. 

“That’s what footy’s about, hey.”