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Aussie Rules: Ratten hails Gresham return

St Kilda coach Brett Ratten believes Jade Gresham can be a game-changer for the club in the 2022 AFL campaign as he prepares to make a return to action.

St Kilda are priced at 8/5 to finish in the top eight of the AFL in the season ahead and Ratten is excited to get Gresham back in his side.

Injury frustration

Ratten has hardly used Gresham since he took over as coach as the player missed the second half of the 2020 season, including finals, after suffering a stress fracture in his back.

Gresham then played just three games last year after picking up a ruptured Achilles in the round three clash against Essendon.

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Ratten has a talented group to call on in 2022 as he looks to get back into finals but he knows he also needs players with the X-factor.

Gresham has that in spades and after returning to full fitness in pre-season, Ratten is in a bullish mood ahead of the new campaign.

New professionalism

"He's going pretty well and the Achilles is going well. He's in the best shape in his time at the footy club, which is great," Ratten told AFL.com.au.

"Sometimes with players, when you take away the game their hunger and desire grows. I think that's really happened with Jade. The way he's come back his running has improved; there's elements of his professionalism that's just risen to a new level, which is great.

"He wants to get back and he wants to play the best footy he can. That will be exciting because he is one player that brings excitement.

"He's so dynamic and he's one of those players whether he's had 25 touches or 30 touches, he might only need 12 or 15 to change a game. That's something that's important. He is a game changer who can change momentum for us. To get him out and playing will be important."

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