Star forward Josh Bruce might have put on a goal kicking clinic at Ikon Park on Saturday, but it was his defensive work which was equally as impressive for St Kilda Assistant Coach, Aaron Hamill.
Bruce, 25, was the most dominant player on the ground in St Kilda’s 92-point win over Carlton in their second JLT Community Series fixture, finishing with 7.1 and nine marks – seven taken inside 50.
A week after midfield coach Adam Kingsley coached the Saints against the Power, Hamill followed suit on the weekend. And the former Saints Captain and current forwards coach was thrilled with Bruce’s all-round performance against the Blues.
“Certainly he contributed well on the scoreboard but I think it was his contest work and his ability to help us defensively certainly helped,” Hamill said at his post-match press conference on Saturday afternoon.
“We don’t judge his games on goals, clearly it’s good to hit the scoreboard as a forward and that’s what we need, but it’s not the be-all and end-all for him.
“He contributes in many ways; he’s a product of hard work so it doesn’t surprise me that he gets those results.
“It was pleasing for him but the conversation around it is how and why did you get them from goal point of view and how well did you perform defensively for us?”
While Bruce stole the show deep inside 50, emerging spearhead Paddy McCartin also produced an eye-catching performance in stifling conditions in Carlton.
After being beset by injury last season, McCartin appears poised for a big year. The 2014 No. 1 pick played higher up the ground on Saturday where he demonstrated his improved endurance, finishing with a game-high 12 marks, 18 possessions and eight inside 50s.
“It’s pleasing, particularly in the second half when one of our key movers in Tim Membrey wasn’t part of it,” Hamill said.
“I think it’s good just to see Paddy keep improving, keep taking steps forward; he competes well for us and that’s all we can ask that he continues to improve and take steps in the right direction.
“It’s a difficult positon for him to play but we’re happy with the direction he is heading.”
St Kilda will round out their preparations for Round 1 when they face Sydney in the final game of the JLT Community Series next Sunday.