St Kilda AFL ruckman Tom Hickey says his spot in the side isn’t safe despite a big game against the Giants on Saturday.
St Kilda AFL ruckman Tom Hickey stands over two metres tall but he was conceding plenty of bulk and experience to Shane Mumford on Saturday.
While Greater Western Sydney’s Mumford dominated the ruck with 46 hit-outs and 18 possessions including 15 contested, Hickey did enough in his 26th game to suggest the post-Ben McEvoy era at St Kilda could be his breakthrough period.
St Kilda’s decision to trade McEvoy to premiers Hawthorn left Hickey competing with Billy Longer for a ruck berth.
Hickey kicked three goals on Saturday at Etihad Stadium as St Kilda won 15.5 (95) to 13.10 (88).
The 201cm Queenslander picked up 19 disposals and grabbed eight marks in a performance that has shut the door on his selection rivals, for a while at least.
Hickey, 23, said pushing his 94kg frame up against Mumford was a daunting challenge. Mumford, a premiership player with Sydney in 2012, is listed at 105kg.
“There’s not too much of me and Mumford is probably 120kg so I knew coming into it, one thing I wanted to work on was spreading him,” Hickey said.
“He likes to get back and help the defence so to try and make him a bit more accountable and also to try and get him moving because if he stands still, there’s no one who can move him.
“So I tried to run him around a bit and get him on the outside.”
Hickey said he was equally comfortable pushing forward and going deep in defence while playing in the ruck.
“You can work off your opponent easier in the ruck because ruckmen aren’t generally as accountable as backmen,” he said.
Hickey said he didn’t feel secure in his role in the side.
“We’ve only got young ruckmen now with Rhys Stanley and Billy Longer and Lewis Pierce who is injured,” Hickey said.
“By no means are either me or Rhys safe in the ruck because Billy played last week (in the reserves) and played super.
“(Coach) Alan Richardson is pretty big on if you play well you’re in the team and if you don’t you’re out so it keeps us honest.”