Draftee Ryan Byrnes has ramped up his charge towards senior selection with another best-on-ground performance in Friday’s scratch match against Carlton.
The 19-year-old barely faltered in the appalling, wintery conditions at Ikon Park, gathering plenty of footy and more than 10 clearances as the Saints flexed their muscle to overcome the Blues.
Byrnes was joined by Jack Bytel in racking up the clearance numbers, while Jack Sinclair and Doulton Langlands snared three goals apiece floating between the midfield and half-forward line.
St Kilda dominated from start-to-finish in the 16v16 affair, with the red, white and black keeping the Carlton reserves to one goal for the match.
Midfield coach Adam Skrobalak praised the efforts of the Saints post-match, saying many had pieced together compelling performances to push hard for a Round 6 call-up.
“It was a shocking day for footy, but the energy of the boys was awesome,” Skrobalak told saints.com.au.
“The way the boys handled the conditions were really, really good – getting the ball going, winning the next contest, surging the next one as well.”
All-Australian ruckman Paddy Ryder was strong through the centre, with his commendable follow-up work seeing him chalk up nine tackles in the wet.
Fellow ruckman Ryan Abbott also performed well in the congested affair, which forced wingman Ed Phillips to play more on the inside as opposed to his usual outside role.
Matty Parker and Nicholas Hind’s speed and attack also impressed across half-forward, with the latter credited for driving the high-energy performance for the entire team.
In the defensive end, Nathan Brown was a standout, while Shane Savage provided plenty of spring off the half-back line to help limit the Blues’ scoring.
Daniel McKenzie worked his way into the game across the half-back line and offered his customary grit alongside Logan Austin, who manned the key defensive post.
Friday also marked Darragh Joyce’s return to competitive football after the Irishman was sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Jack Mayo started strong up forward before being benched with concussion prior to half-time, while Leo Connolly and Sam Alabakis donned the Navy Blue to even up the numbers.
St Kilda’s future practice matches will be determined once the club settles into hub life in Noosa, with the entire playing group set to take residency up north for at least the next month.