It was a sorry day for the Zebras out in Beaconsfield on Saturday losing their Round Seven clash against Richmond by 65 points. Let’s take a look at how the listed St Kilda players performed to see if we can pick out any positives from the wreckage caused by a ruthless Tigers?
Despite being part of a defensive unit bombarded with 60 Inside 50’s for the afternoon, Brandon White was a shining light for the Zebras. If Coach Aaron Hammil’s praise is anything to go by, White is bound to be in contention for selection for the Saints this week. “Brandon was outstanding again for us for the second week in a row. Since he’s come back to VFL he’s averaged 30-odd possessions,” Hamill told Saints.com.au. “He’s very good in contests, offensively he gives us a fair bit of drive and grunt off the back there and defensive he’s winning his one-on-ones,” the former Saints skipper enthused.
Ben Paton also drew praise from his coach after collecting 19-touches and laying six-touches in the Sandringham forward line. “Ben’s really good in tight, he has the capacity to win his own ball, capacity to use his legs out of stoppage and he gets going for us offensively,” Hammil enthused. “He’s got all the key ingredients to become a really consistent player for us, every week he’s adding different layers. He’s coming together nicely but we need to keep building his game,” the coach said after the match.
Doulton Langlands, Josh Battle and Daniel McKenzie all fought out the match without being able to influence the contest. Billy Longer with a goal and 39 hit-outs, was one of the Zebras as he continued to present a viable alternative option in the ruck for the Saints.
Darragh Joyce with 17-touches was steady down back in one of the former hurlers better games since arriving from Ireland. His development and consistency were praised by the coach. “He’s probably been one of our more consistent performers, and in terms of growth, he’s shown significant signs of improvement,” Hamill said.
Joining Joyce in learning his trade down back was 2017 Draftee Oscar Clavarino. Having been pitted against a number of the top teams in recent weeks, Clavarino is receiving a pretty comprehensive apprenticeship.
Hugh Goddard, who has spent much of his time at St Kilda and Sandringham in key defensive posts, was thrown forward against the Tigers and showed positive signs with limited opportunities. The Coach praised Goddard’s attack on the contest but had a bit to learn about forward craft. “Hugh’s a really competitive bloke and he gives us a really good contest back or front. He’s got a lot to learn about his forward craft,” Hamill said. “But he absorbs anything you throw at him, so he’s keen to learn and he provides elite contest up there,” he enthused.
There were mixed results for a pair of youngsters on the comeback trail from injury. Darren Minchington played limited minutes in his first game back knee injury but was able to have an influence around stoppages throughout the day. Unfortunately for Nathan Freeman, he suffered another setback in his quest for a long-awaited AFL debut. After two exceptional performances, a shoulder injury ended his day against Richmond and is likely to keep him on the sideline for four weeks.
That was the tale for Saints listed players in Zebra stripes but due to special dispensation, another young gun continues to ply his trade elsewhere. Developing Ruckman Lewis Pierce continued to thrive as first ruck at Frankston winning 47 hit-outs and 18-possessions against Coburg. “He’s become a stand-out ruckman of the competition,” Frankston Coach Adam Skrobalak claimed post-match.