Jade Gresham says he’s ready to make the midfield move Saints fans have always wanted to see. Picture: AAP
Jade Gresham says he’s ready to make the midfield move Saints fans have always wanted to see. Picture: AAP

Gresh in the guts? Saint ready to shine

St Kilda young gun Jade Gresham will push for greater midfield opportunity this year after further building his fitness across a flawless pre-season.

Gresham transitioned from a small forward in 2018 to split his time between the midfield and forward line with the Saints last year.

He now has his sights set on playing predominantly as a midfielder in 2020 on the back of a trouble-free summer on the track.

 

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Jade Gresham says he’s ready to make the midfield move Saints fans have always wanted to see. Picture: AAP
Jade Gresham says he’s ready to make the midfield move Saints fans have always wanted to see. Picture: AAP

 

 

"I've had one of my first full pre-seasons since I got to the club so I've been able to get fitter and stronger," Gresham said.

"Hopefully I can play that 80-20 midfield-forward mix and get a bit more time through the midfield."

Gresham ranked ninth among midfield-forwards in the AFL last year according to Champion Data, but at 22 years old was the youngest player in the top-10.

 

 

In just his fourth season, Gresham rated elite for disposals (22.6 a game), inside-50s (4.8 a game) and clearances (4.6 a game), while still managing to hit the scoreboard with 15 goals from 19 games before a fractured eye socket ended his campaign early.

"That was just a four or five week injury. I'm fully recovered now and have no real issues," Gresham said.

"I could have (had surgery) but because we had the long break (post-season) it had time to heal."

 

Gresham is a fan favourite at St Kilda. Picture: AAP
Gresham is a fan favourite at St Kilda. Picture: AAP

 

Gresham joined the Saints' third-year players for a trip to Darwin and the Tiwi Islands in November, the second time he had been to the region in as many years.

While Gresham grew up in Mill Park in Melbourne's northern suburbs, he is of indigenous decent with roots tracking back to the Yorta Yorta people.

"Hopefully we can make it a yearly thing," Gresham said of the Saints' Tiwi Islands trip.

"You take away how much the kids up there love footy and life. They really love life. They don't have much but they're just always happy and always smiling. So it's a good experience."

After the recruitment of Paddy Ryder from Port Adelaide during October's trade period, Saints fans got their first look at how Ryder and Rowan Marshall will combine in the ruck during St Kilda's first Marsh Community Series match against Hawthorn last week.

 

Gresham says the Saints’ two-pronged ruck set up will be dynamite in 2020. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
Gresham says the Saints’ two-pronged ruck set up will be dynamite in 2020. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

 

Gresham said he was confident the combination would prove a winner.

"I like it a lot," he said.

"They've been working together a lot through the pre-season, those two, learning how each other play and how they work together. I think they're going to be a pretty good duo throughout this season. I can't wait for them to hopefully give me a few taps."

Gresham will play for Victoria in the AFL's State of Origin for Bushfire Relief match at Marvel Stadium tomorrow night, an opportunity that was too good to pass up.

"A lot of guns are going to be playing so I can't wait to run out alongside them," Gresham said.

"It's for a great cause."



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