Highmore in mix for round one

22 February 2021 16:12:32 GMTPlus11

St Kilda head coach Brett Ratten has suggested Tom Highmore could be in the reckoning for round one of the 2021 AFL campaign as injuries bite into the Saints ranks.

St Kilda have been hit by the news Ben Paton will miss the entire season through injury, while Jarryn Geary is expected to miss at least the opening month of the campaign.

It has opened up opportunities for a number of players, including mature-age recruit Highmore, who impressed playing across half-back in an intraclub game last week.

The soon-to-be 23-year-old still has lots to learn, but at least he has put himself into the mix and Ratten has been impressed by what he has seen so far.

"Young Tommy Highmore is nearly a Wilkie clone in the way he goes about it, but he's a right-footer and he played exceptionally well mopping up," Ratten told AFL.com.au.

"He kicks the ball well, he's brave, he's a good size… so whether he's a second-tall defender, or third, he's sort of in that category.

"Is he going to play round one? We're not sure. Is he going to play this year? We're not sure.

"I had a one-on-one meeting with him the other day and we spoke about that; it's about getting your opportunity and taking it and he's up for the challenge.

"At 22, he's a long-term view too, for us. Whatever he does this year will be a bonus because he will improve, he will adapt to the AFL (and) the way it's played."

Highmore will now get another chance to shine when Saints take on North Melbourne in a practice match on Thursday.

Saints are priced at 14/1 to win the AFL grand final.

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