St Kilda coach Brett Ratten has continued to throw support behind Brad Hill after the big-money Saint was held to only six touches against the last-placed North Melbourne on Saturday.
Hill was tagged out of the game by 24-gamer Bailey Scott and had only two touches to halftime, but Ratten remained positive on the outside runner’s performance and said the 27-year-old, who was stationed at half-back, still played a role in assisting team defence.
“I thought some of his work to take two-for-ones and try to help out a little bit for others was pretty good, he tried to assist others,” Ratten said.
“At the end of the day, we were winning, and do we move Hilly and put him somewhere else? But he was helping our team defence even though he wasn’t getting the ball a lot.”
Ratten conceded Hill — who is contracted to St Kilda on a six-year deal worth an estimated $900,000 per season — had better standards to adhere to, but said he fell victim to an unsportsmanlike tag.
“He’s got higher standards than what he achieved tonight, and we’ll keep pushing for that,” Ratten said.
“(But) he got sat on, Scott didn’t even want to try and touch the ball really, and just made it a sole focus with that.”
Hill joined the Saints from Fremantle last season. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )Source:Getty Images
Scott had 14 touches, more than doubling Hill’s tally in another dirty day for the maligned Saint, who was also restricted to only 10 disposals against both Richmond and Port Adelaide earlier in the year.
Ratten also admitted his side was some way off its best football, after a 45-point final quarter lead was stripped back to just 20 by the final siren.
“I spoke (to the players) a lot about our expectations as a football team, and some of the things that did happen in the game weren’t to the level that we need to get it to,” he said.
“I patted them on the back for the victory and to get the four points, and now we’re five (wins) and six (losses) which is good, but there (were) things in the game that are not to the level that we want.
“Whether we’ve got a first-gamer, or ‘Gears’ (Jarryn Geary) who’s our oldest player, we’ve got to keep these standards and really home in on them and make sure we get that to the level that we’re after.”
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