Malthouse’s cutting call on $900k star
Mick Malthouse says Brett Ratten must drop underperforming veteran Brad Hill but the St Kilda coach insists he will keep the faith with the $900,000-a-year star.
Ratten had said the criticism of Hill's performance in the first two weeks of the season was unfair after he bounced back with a 26-disposal effort against the Eagles last weekend.
But he was back to his worst in the Saints' 20.14 (134) to 7.6 (48) defeat against Richmond on Thursday night, leading many to call for his head.
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"The Saints will rebound - they won't embarrass themselves again - if Brett Ratten does the right thing and drops players who should not be in that side," Malthouse told ABC Sport.
When asked who Ratten should start with, the legendary coach said: "Hill. Brad Hill."
Malthouse wasn't the only footy great singling out the 27-year-old after he tallied just 10 disposals. "He feels he doesn't need to compete, and his only job is to get on the outside and receive," Essendon champion Tim Watson told SEN on Friday morning.
#AFLSaintsTigers Surely the only fair thing would be for Brad Hill to donate his salary to Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision. At least by the end of the night/year he could say he’d contributed something.— Glenn Connley (@GlennConnley) April 15, 2021
But Ratten is going to give the former Hawthorn and Fremantle star another chance.
"We won't drop Brad Hill," Ratten said post-game.
"It was a five-day turnaround and he didn't perform to the level he can. He played well last week.
"We need to back him in and he needs to get going, too.
"Hilly has had some OK performances. In the GWS game, he didn't get a heap of the ball but what he did with the ball was brilliant in really wet conditions. Last week, he played pretty well.
"I think everybody is putting the spotlight on him, but there are a few others as well."
Last season, Ratten admitted his players were struggling to connect with the club's prized recruit, who joined St Kilda on a six-year deal at approximately $900,000 a season after the team sent pick 10 in a complex deal to Fremantle.
Hill played every game in 2020 but failed to finish inside the top 10 in the club's best and fairest.
"Maybe if we give it to him a little bit more when he's free. So when he's out in the open or has five, 10 or 20 metres on his opponent, maybe give him the ball," he said in 2020.
"There's times there when he should get the ball and we're scratching our heads saying: 'Why aren't we giving it to him?'
"I think he worked to some good parts of the ground and we didn't give him the footy. So I think we played a part in that tonight.
"He's trying to find the connection with the group and he's still growing that.
"You look at his GPS over the last couple of weeks and he's running at high speed, 400 or 500m more than any other player on the ground. He's working extremely hard.
"The connection piece we'll just keep pushing, but I think we can give him the ball more, especially the obvious ones when he's completely out."
The Saints are now 2-3 after five matches and face Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval in Round 6.
- with foxsports.com.au
Originally published as Malthouse's cutting call on $900k star