Hill breaking the shackles
Often criticised for his struggles against a tight tag, exciting Freo midfielder Stephen Hill seems to have sprouted wings in the past fortnight and exploded into the best form of his young career.
A match-winning second half display against St Kilda in round 4, where he beat his nemesis Clinton Jones, was backed up by a gut-busting attempt to lift his team in last Friday night’s close loss to Carlton.
Hill tried to inspire Freo with a series of scintillating runs against the Blues, often with the ball in hand.
And when his team had caused a turnover, Hill brilliantly managed to get over the top of the Carlton defence on numerous occasions and create an option for his teammates when one didn’t initially exist.
The 22-year-old said he’d made it a focus this season to try and run his direct opponents into the ground.
“It’s something I’ve been working on, trying to wear them down with my run,” he said.
“It’s one way I can beat some taggers that are trying to get to me – keep going on those long runs.”
Hill said Freo could still take a lot of positives from Friday night’s loss against the Blues, who he said were a great side.
“I think we kept fighting to the end and we didn’t give up,” he said.
“That’s a positive.
“I think if we made the most of our opportunities, we missed a few shots at goal, we could have been in it a bit more.”
Hill was now looking forward to taking on second-year side Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium this Saturday.
“It’s a long trip over there, so we’ve got to get ourselves ready, recover and keep working on what we need to improve on,” he said.
“I just want to keep playing my part for the team, keep giving 100 per cent effort, never giving in and continue using my run.
“It’s going to be a good game.”