Starring role snares Gresham Rising Star

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AFL: St Kilda hope the win over the Geelong is not a one off upset and sets the standard of performance.

Jade Gresham kicks the Saints into attack.

ST KILDA’S hardline stance on the Jake Carlisle trade was further vindicated last night with young gun Jade Gresham awarded the Rising Star.

The Saints refused to budge on Essendon’s demands to swap pick No.5 for Carlisle last year but the clubs were able to broker a deal with the help of Sydney.

It meant the Saints landed Carlisle and only slid from No.5 to 14 in the first round of the draft — the selection used on Gresham.

Saints chief recruiter Tony Elshaug went to the draft with the simple plan of picking the best player at his first pick and that was Gresham.

He was officially read out at pick 18 due to the fluid order on draft night.

The small forward snapped a magical goal to revive the Saints deep in the last quarter of Saturday night’s thrilling win against premiership favourite Geelong.

Jade Gresham starred in St Kilda’s win over Geelong.Source:Getty Images

Gresham, 18, crept forward and sidestepped Tom Lonergan before goaling to cut the margin to just three points.

“It was all a bit of a blur,” Gresham said last night.

“I was pretty lucky I thought he was going to tackle me, but it was all a blur.

“It was a really good win. We wanted to take a scalp and we’ve just got to be a bit more consistent and bring it this week against the Suns.”

Superstar Leigh Montagna has worked closely with the 177cm dynamo.

Gresham said the Saints would not alter their preparation for Saturday’s trip to face Gold Coast despite their horror record on the road this year.

“We’ll go about the week like we usually would and we’ve just got to bring our pressure and form in and build on last week,” he said.

The Northern Knights graduate is the Saints’ fifth Rising Star nominee since 2013, joining young guns Blake Acres, Jack Lonie, Luke Dunstan and Jack Billings.

He is the sixth player from last year’s drafts to win a nomination in their first AFL season.

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