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Steven shines in Saints' match simulation

Jack Steven was in good touch on Friday - AFL,St Kilda Saints,Jack Steven,Paddy McCartin,Maverick Weller,Nathan Freeman,Darren Minchington,Brandon White,Jake Carlisle,Jade Gresham,Tim Membrey,Logan Austin,Nicholas Coffield,Jack Billings
Jack Steven was in good touch on Friday

STAR midfielder Jack Steven has overcome the hamstring tendinitis issues that plagued him last year and was in superb form during St Kilda's match simulation session in Sandringham on Friday.

With similarly talented teams divided into black and yellow for a game consisting of three 20-minute periods, Steven racked up plenty of the footy and demonstrated the speed and acceleration that was at times limited in 2017.

He capped off his day with a drop punt goal from the boundary line on the wrong side for a right-footer.

"He was really good. He's been pretty positive all pre-season. His ability to get to the ball and influence is the big thing. He's first to get to the contest and his ability to extract the ball from the contest, using his legs, is pretty impressive," midfield coach Simon McPhee told

Mav Weller had his 2017 ruined by right ankle troubles but he looked in fine form, covering the ground well and winning his fair share of the footy.

Up forward, Paddy McCartin had plenty of aerial presence and took an impressive mark in a pack of four players.

Nathan Freeman and Darren Minchington both sat out the first period. Freeman was affected by a calf niggle late last year and the Saints were very conservative with him, because of his injury history. 

Freeman picked up a touch within a minute of coming on and later slotted a goal on the run from just inside the 50m arc. 

"His pre-season, while it's been interrupted, his stuff pre-Christmas was really good. The fact that he's been able to come in and find the footy straight away is a really good sign for him and for us," McPhee said. 

Minchington had ankle surgery midway through last year. 

Leigh Montagna's retirement has opened up a spot in defence and Brandon White made his case, showing his contested marking skills and precise left foot. 

Exciting youngster Jade Gresham did plenty to excite, hauling in a speccy in the first term and taking a one-on-one mark against tall backman Logan Austin in the second. 

Tim Membrey looks set to build on his 38-goal season in 2017, performing well while matched up on Jake Carlisle for long periods.

Membrey hauls in a strong mark against Carlisle. Picture:

Midfielder Nick Coffield was the best of the draftees. His supreme pace will add variety to Alan Richardson's side.

"Nick's been getting his hands on the footy a fair bit. He looks pretty composed when he gets it. He looks forward and looks to use his legs, so he's been really good," McPhee said.

Hunter Clark snapped a goal on his right from a stoppage and showed composure.

"He's really clever and clean, so I was pretty pleased with Hunts. He puts his head over the ball," McPhee said. 

Star forward Jack Billings was dominant early before being rested for the last two terms. His new goalkicking routine was put to the test and he duly delivered. 

Big man Rowan Marshall showed why the club is internally confident about his prospects, holding his own against Tom Hickey in the ruck and going forward to provide an aerial presence. 

Josh BruceJack Newnes and Lewis Pierce are coming off minor knee surgeries but are due back in full training next Monday, as is Billy Longer (calf). Left-footer Daniel McKenzie also sat out with a rolled ankle and will rejoin the main group late next week.

Jade Gresham keeps his eye on the ball. Picture: