At a glance:
- Brad Crouch says St Kilda's midfielders are looking to find multiple positions to offer more flexibility to the line-up in 2021.
- The No. 5 has predicted he'll spend time up forward and possibly off half-back, but says the Saints will need to strike the right balance.
- St Kilda's training regimen has also shifted towards match-specific sessions less than two months out from Round 1.
Midfield versatility and dual-position capabilities will be important assets to St Kilda’s midfield fabric in 2021, according to recruit Brad Crouch.
The 27-year-old was widely tipped to be a pure inside midfielder entering the next stage of his career in Victoria, but there may be more in his and the Saints’ trick-bag than originally anticipated.
“There’s a lot of depth in the midfield and a lot of numbers, so we’re going to get through as many as we can,” the new No. 5 told SEN.
“All of us in the midfield are now trying to find not just one, but two places where you can play other than the midfield because we’ve probably got seven or eight blokes that can go through there which is a real strength.
“I think I’ll play forward at different times, maybe outside on the wing and have even spoken little bits about playing half-back at times, but I’m not totally sure.
“We’re trying to find our way (about) which players suit best to go forward, which ones suit to go back or on the wing. There are a lot of different options, but at the same time if you move around too much it can be confusing, so we’re just trying to find the right balance.”
Several members of the club’s engine room have shown their potential across multiple areas of the ground both in 2020 and the seasons prior.
Jack Steele proved he was more than capable inside the arc last year with 11 goals, while Seb Ross and Bradley Hill were tried off half-back at different stages.
Quick hands from Seb and Steeley makes it count.— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) September 18, 2020
What a season he's having. pic.twitter.com/XpAFQVHvsj
Jade Gresham, Jack Billings and Jack Sinclair have long been able to swing between the midfield forward line, with the latter also spending time as an inside midfielder in 2020.
St Kilda's rejigged line-up will be put to the test in the coming weeks as the club steams towards its season opener against GWS, now just a touch over two months away.
“We’ve virtually started – and I know a lot of teams have started – match-play already and doing match-specific stuff, even though we’ve only been back for a week and a half,” Crouch said.
“Because of the late finish, particularly with the Saints, a lot of them are saying 'it feels like we just finished', so they’ve sort of got that match fitness or can get it back really quickly.
“We’ll play an internal game and maybe the two practice matches (against West Coast and Geelong) if all goes well.”