The young and old were on show at the Holden Centre on Saturday, with St Kilda emerging nine-point victors over Collingwood in a scratch match.
Seasoned pair Jimmy Webster and Dean Kent were the standouts at either end, while Ed Phillips ran himself into the ground through the middle
A tight contest all day, goals against the breeze to Josh Thomas and Mason Cox appeared to settle the afternoon in the Magpies’ favour, before a booming set shot from Kent and a runaway goal to rookie Sam Alabakis proved the difference.
(L-R) Leo Connolly, Doulton Langlands, Ryan Byrnes, Jack Mayo, Daniel McKenzie, Jack Bytel
Webster racked up possessions with high efficiency, but wasn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty with several desperate acts across the afternoon. He had good support in defence with Nathan Brown, Logan Austin, Shane Savage and Dylan Roberton all rock solid.
The experienced unit defended well, particularly against the breeze, and shared the footy as they tried to find a way forward without a major marking option in attack.
Kent’s speed at half-forward was one of the highlights, with the powerful runner putting his hand up for a return to AFL level after missing Round 2 with illness. The former Melbourne forward applied plenty of pressure and could have landed a couple of additional majors, except for some unselfish play.
AFL Preview: Saints set sights on Magpies
The run of Ed Phillips and Dan McKenzie was another feature, with the former at the top of the stats sheet in the first three quarters before spending the last term on Adam Treloar.
McKenzie also spent time on the Collingwood star, but added plenty of drive through the middle. Luke Dunstan won the ball well inside the contest and at half forward, with his hardness only matched by that of Matty Parker, who attacked the game like a final rather than a practice game.
But just as the more seasoned campaigners impressed, so did youngsters Jack Bytel, Ryan Byrnes, Leo Connolly and Doulton Langlands.
Byrnes was among the biggest ball winners in the first half, while Bytel was solid throughout. Connolly’s deft kicking skills on both feet were on display, with the youngster finding housemate Jack Mayo on the lead late in the game with remarkable precision.
Langlands was another to enjoy a big moment, winning the ball back form the opposition deep in the forward pocket, before nailing a left foot snap against the breeze.
Ryan Abbott won the ruck battle and also managed to land a goal as a marking forward, creating another scoring opportunity just 30 seconds later only to hit the post.
As carryover emergencies, Jack Sinclair and Josh Battle didn’t appear in the 16v16 game, remaining on standby in case of a late withdrawal for the AFL clash.
Final score: Collingwood 10.3 (63) St Kilda 11.6 (72)