At a glance:
- Max King has commended the midfield performances of Brad Crouch and Bradley Hill against West Coast.
- The pair accrued 26 disposals each, with Crouch leading the way with 12 tackles and Hill with a team-high 566 metres gained.
- Both were instrumental in the Saints' win over the Eagles, which puts the ledger at 2-2 heading in Round 5 against Richmond.
Max King may have jagged a career-high five goals against West Coast, but his praise was reserved for midfield duo Brad Crouch and Bradley Hill.
Both were among St Kilda’s most valuable contributors in Saturday afternoon’s stirring 33-point turnaround, responding well after down outings in Round 3.
Crouch secured his maiden win in red, white and black off the back of a tenacious inside display, collecting 26 disposals (15 contested), 12 tackles and six clearances to help strongarm his side over the Eagles’ well-credentialed engine room.
“He was huge for us,” King said about Crouch on SEN.
“He was pretty disappointed – as we all were – coming off last week, and he was the most noticeable one who came out and set the tone early.
“It was just hot footy. There was just so much pressure on the ball in the midfield; it made it pretty easy for our backmen and it was pretty handy for the forwards as well.”
Together with inside bulls Jack Steele and Zak Jones, the trio accumulated a whopping 85 touches (44 contested), 22 clearances and 20 tackles.
Crouch laid nine of his 12 tackles in the opening half to uphold St Kilda’s pressure around the contest, before unleashing an explosive 10-disposal final term (six contested) to close out his afternoon.
While the former Crow was resolute from siren-to-siren at the coalface, Hill was equally damaging on the outside through his run and use.
Twenty-six touches, seven inside-50s and a team-high 566 metres gained was the optimal response coming off a week of intense media scrutiny, which had him under the most pressure he’d felt in his 10-year career.
Hill was mesmerising in his movements forward, hitting King perfectly in the opening term for the first of his five majors.
“We know that when Brad’s confidence is up he’s a superstar of the competition,” King said.
“He does cop a lot of criticism, but inside the club we’re pretty supportive of him and we know what he’s capable of, so it was good to see him back to his good form.
“We just keep having faith in him and keep showing belief that it’s going to turn around for him as it did on the weekend.”