A setback for Jade Gresham has paved the way for him to take the next step into becoming a “great player” in 2020, according to senior coach Brett Ratten.
The 22-year-old spent the pause in play rehabilitating from a PCL injury sustained in Round 1, and has returned to RSEA Park ready to go.
His condition alone suggests Gresham understands the responsibility he has to the team.
And it’s something which Ratten believes can help the young talent reach the next level.
“He's one of our best players and we need him out there, so he knew the responsibility that he had,” Ratten told saints.com.au.
“Gresh knows if you don’t do the work you can’t perform at your best, so he knew it was important for him to get back to play at his best, but also for us because we need him to try to win games of football.
Gresham was rubbed out at half-time of the first match of the season against North Melbourne – a game the Saints lost by two points.
“It probably shows we really missed him in that second half against North Melbourne,” Ratten said.
“His ability to work through traffic and use the footy and his ability to be around that congestion – he showed that straight away when he got back into match simulation.
“He’s a class player and he has the ability to take his game to another level.”
Gresham will continue to have his workload in a given week managed as Round 2 draws nearer, but is otherwise primed to make his return against the Western Bulldogs in less than a fortnight.