Several Saints have reaffirmed their senior availability following yesterday morning’s hard-fought slog in miserable conditions against a quality Brisbane outfit.
Shane Savage and Oscar Clavarino put their best foot forward for a senior call-up after commendable performances in defence, while last week’s debutant Ryan Byrnes didn’t miss a beat through his cleanliness and skill on both sides of the body.
Byrnes was joined through the middle by Jack Bytel and Ed Phillips, who have ramped up their cases for senior selection in recent weeks.
With St Kilda preparing to play its next four games over 16 days, strong scratch match showings will be more important than ever for the Saints eyeing off senior selection.
Development Manger Ben McGlynn said Friday’s outing was a good test for the predominantly young group, particularly against quality opposition.
“It was a pretty challenging day in terms of conditions, but the boys had a reasonable crack against probably a better opponent that they’ve faced previously,” McGlynn told saints.com.au.
“Brisbane were at full strength and had pretty good numbers, so we fought it out and the effort was definitely there, but we couldn’t capitalise and score readily.
“We brought the wings in and it was challenging with less numbers, but the boys’ attitude has always been really good.”
The Saints were unable to hit the scoreboard to last week’s damaging effect, but battled through as they tried to lock the ball inside forward-50.
Darragh Joyce, Jack Bell and Doulton Langlands formed part of the Saints’ attack and a buzzing Jack Lonie slotted an important goal in the wet, but it was a challenging day for the forward line on the whole.
Jimmy Webster performed well early in the piece, while Dylan Roberton’s leadership to the young group was prevalent across the wings and down back.
Ryan Abbott manned the key post up forward to leave most of the ruck duties to Sam Alabakis, while up the other end, Logan Austin held down the defensive end after veteran defender Nathan Brown returned to Victoria earlier in the week.
First-year Saint Leo Connolly was again tried through the middle and up forward to further develop his craft.
Travelling emergency Daniel McKenzie crammed as much as he could into the first two quarters along the wing, inside and across half-back, while fellow emergency Jonathon Marsh did not play.
The match began as a 17v17 outing, before shrinking to 15 as a handful Saints and Lions were kept fresh ahead of next fortnight’s rapid run of games.
St Kilda will confirm its opponent for its next practice match early next week.