St Kilda’s first full match simulation at RSEA Park has given indication of what could transpire in Season 2020.
A revamped Ben Long was electric across half-back, with the firebrand speedster finding plenty of space and evading opponents with ease.
Jack Billings exuded his trademark class along the wing, while inside, Zak Jones showcased his importance to the Saints' reinvigorated set-up with his brute strength and desire to win the ball.
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Billings was stalked by Josh Battle, who moved between the wing and defence as he looks to utilise his elite endurance further up the ground.
Max King topped the goalkickers list, with four majors from seven opportunities, and looked particularly dangerous when he broke into space on a lead.
Small forward fleet Dan Butler and Jack Lonie displayed their superb two-way running capacity to finish with two goals apiece, while Dean Kent worked his way into the game with three second-half goals.
Kent's booming one-step bomb from outside 50 was arguably the most eye-catching major of the morning.
Jade Gresham also scored multiple goals – including a brilliant effort off the back of Lonie's work-rate – and played most of his game through the midfield.
Long-absent defender Dylan Roberton played out the full game and executed well off the half-back line, while Dan Hannebery played four quarters through the centre unaffected.
Jake Carlisle lined up on Tim Membrey at stages across the morning, with the latter working well up the ground and providing a strong marking option in attack.
The closing speed and thumping spoil of Dougal Howard also featured throughout, with the 23-year-old marshalling a revolving back-six.
Draftee Ryan Byrnes didn’t look out of place in the well-established midfield group, Hunter Clark and Nick Coffield had their own moments of composure, Ben Paton was lively in the second half, while Jack Sinclair worked tirelessly up the middle of the ground.
Ryan Abbott contested particularly well against Rowan Marshall in the ruck, who was tried deep in attack late in the fourth quarter.
Midfielders Jack Steele and Seb Ross and defenders Callum Wilkie, Shane Savage and Jimmy Webster were their usual reliable selves.
A knock to Luke Dunstan’s hip saw him sit out the second half, but otherwise the Saints emerged from the hit-out unscathed.
Bradley Hill, Jarryn Geary, Paddy Ryder, Matty Parker and Nicholas Hind missed the encounter through injury niggles.
All will be available for the Saints’ first competitive hit-out of the year.
St Kilda will face Hawthorn in the first week of the Marsh Community Series on Thursday 20 February at RSEA Park.