AFL Rd 3 - Essendon v St Kilda
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 03: Bradley Hill of the Saints looks dejected during the round 3 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the St Kilda Saints at Marvel Stadium on April 03, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Legendary AFL coach Mick Malthouse has called for St Kilda to dump star midfielder Brad Hill to the VFL after another disappointing performance in Thursday night’s 86-point loss to Richmond.

Hill, 27, has underwhelmed at the Saints since joining the club in 2020 on a lucrative five-year deal believed to be worth around $900,000 a season.

The former Docker and Hawk averaged 15.4 disposals from 19 games last year. While it was in reduced quarters, it marked Hill’s lowest return since his rookie season.

He has shown improvement in 2021 – averaging 19.7 disposals through the first four rounds – but recorded just 10 disposals in his side’s thrashing to the Tigers.

Named in the All-Australian squad in his final year at the Dockers in 2019 and widely considered the biggest snub from the final 22, the triple-premiership player has struggled to consistently produce at an elite level for St Kilda since.

Speaking on ABC radio after the Saints’ defeat, Malthouse believes Brett Ratten’s side can bounce back if they make a statement at the selection table.

“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 said on the ABC.

When asked who should get dropped, Malthouse replied “Hill, Brad Hill”.

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However, speaking after the loss, Ratten explicitly said Hill would not be dropped when asked about team selection moving forward.

“We won‘t drop Brad Hill,” the Saints coach 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. It‘s the same as Nick Coffield and it’s the same conversation I had with him this week. He needed to get going because we can’t keep giving games.

“But ‘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.”

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Speaking on SEN radio, Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes also called out Hill, stating “he looked completely disinterested” against Richmond.

“Brad Hill was nowhere again last night,” Cornes told SEN’s The Captain’s Run.

“His output through five games in 2021 does not warrant selection in an AFL side who should be fighting for a top four position.

“He looked completely disinterested – 10 possessions, zero tackles was all that Hill could manage. They’re troubling numbers for a man on $900,000 per year.”

Hill has played 173 AFL games since making his debut for Hawthorn in 2012.

St Kilda will look to bounce back in their Round 6 clash against Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval next Sunday at 6.40pm AEST.