Several Saints stood out in the club’s first Friday night game of 2018, a comfortable 64-point win over the bottom-placed Carlton.
But one Saint, in particular, stole the limelight, continuing his recent run of good form and putting together arguably the best performance of his career.
For the fourth consecutive game, Jack Steele was influential in the middle, using his sizeable bulk to both
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Quickly become a fan favourite among the faithful for his aggression and hardness, the midfield bull’s numbers were simply extraordinary.
A game-high 10 tackles and team-high numbers in disposals (33), contested possessions (15) and clearances (7) were capped off with a goal and an astonishing 97% disposal efficiency.
In a season where accurate distribution has sometimes proved difficult for the Saints, Steele’s ability to win the footy and hit targets by both hand and foot were invaluable.
The 22-year-old said he is relishing his new role in the middle, and that the singular focus that a “run-with” role entails has allowed him to play his best footy.
“It’s fair to say that’s probably
“(My role) allows me to just get to work and try and stop them from getting the ball, but if it’s there to be won, just go and get it myself.”
Some big names loom as possible match-ups for the ex-Giant next week in Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin, but the boy from Canberra said the Saints will take some confidence from their extraordinary win in the same fixture in 2017.
“I think we’ve shown the last couple of weeks that we’re capable of playing good footy, and Maddie’s Match last year was a cracker for us, so hopefully we can replicate that next Friday,” Steele said.
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64 reasons to smile pic.twitter.com/qkHblf21QL— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) July 13, 2018
Senior coach Alan Richardson was full of praise for the efforts of the young midfielder, despite the obvious class of his direct opponent.
“I thought ‘Steeley’ battled away manfully,” he said.
“I thought (Patrick) Cripps was probably the best player on the ground, but I felt that ‘Steeley’ will learn from that performance; he certainly never gave up.
“He’s been playing footy the right way for us, and we’re really pleased with what he’s doing.”
The Saints will need to turn it on next Friday night at the same ground, as they host the top-of-the-table reigning premiers in Richmond in the annual Maddie’s Match.