A look back at the video tape is something Ryan Byrnes never would have considered doing to fast-track his growth when he first arrived at RSEA Park.
But a closer inspection of the replay reel alongside leading Saints figures Seb Ross and coach Brett Ratten – both established on-ballers of their respective eras – has been invaluable in accelerating the 13-gamer’s footy nous.
“We’ve done a bit of vision that’s just looking at… where my feet are when I’m receiving the ball, how I’m standing and how that allows me to get rid of the ball quickly or drive through the contest,” Byrnes explained on SEN.
“I think for me two of the biggest influences in that space have been Seb Ross and actually Brett Ratten. It’s something that I didn’t think about at all to be honest before getting to the club.
Byrnes is yet to miss a senior game since breaking into the line-up in Round 7 following a severe hamstring tendon injury which ruled him out for the better part of eight weeks.
His role within the side has varied both week to week and within matches, being deployed at half-forward, along the wing or as an inside midfielder across his 13 senior outings this year.
Attending both the forwards and mids meetings during the week may chew up a considerable amount of the youngster’s time, but it’s rubbed off in a noticeable way on-field.
And it’s that flexibility which has held the Sandringham Dragons recruit – taken as St Kilda’s leading pick (No. 52) in the 2019 National Draft – in good stead despite the club’s variances in form.
“I’ve really sort of got my head around playing those multiple positions and doing what my team needs me to do,” Byrnes said.
“At the end of the day, I want to make that a strength of mine as well that if I need to go out play out a wing I can do that, and if I need to play inside and get some fast feet around the ball I’m also happy to do that.
“I’ve just been focussing on what the team needs me to do and that allows me to sort of be in the moment and not think too much about my own performance, which can be a little bit of a trap for players.”
Byrnes will again be part of the senior line-up this week as St Kilda sets its sights on bouncing back against Sydney this Saturday night at Marvel Stadium.