Terry Wallace believes that St Kilda’s decision to drop Josh Bruce for fellow forward Paddy McCartin is completely unnecessary.
The 21-year-old 2014 number one draft pick will play his first game since Round 3 against the Sydney Swans on Saturday, with Bruce making way despite kicking 13 goals this season in a side that has won four of their past five games.
Wallace says that while Bruce could have made a more significant contribution in recent weeks, changing the side’s structure by playing a different kind of forward wasn’t necessary for the in-form Saints.
“I didn’t think it was broken… Bruce’s form hasn’t been great but the form of the team has been quite OK,” the former Richmond and Western Bulldogs coach said on SEN’s Before the Games.
“To me, if it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it.
“I would have waited. I think the work ethic of Bruce is far superior still at the moment to where Paddy McCartin’s is and I do see their roles as being marginally different in the structure…I don’t think the structure of the side was broken so I would have left it the way it was.”
Wallace says he understands why St Kilda made the change for the clash at Etihad Stadium, but is adamant it wasn’t at all needed for the Saints to claim their sixth win of the season.
“It is a pick 1 who is coming back in and they want to get game time into him. He’s been OK (in the VFL). He had his seven goals like two or three weeks ago,” he said.
“It might be flipside too. It might be that this gives a hungry Paddy McCartin a chance to grasp something but it also sends a message to Josh Bruce and a few others that there isn’t any guarantees, even when we’re winning…you might get a hungry Josh Bruce coming back a few weeks’ time.
“I understand why they did it, just with the way they are going about their footy I wouldn’t have done it.”
However former Bulldogs player Adam Cooney has backed in McCartin to play well against the Swans, and expects that the criticism that has been placed on him this season will quickly be forgotten once he realises his potential.
“I think (St Kilda) have been a little bit frustrated with Josh Bruce. His output they’re not 100 per cent happy with down at the Saints” he said on SEN Afternoons.
“(McCartin) is one of those forwards who we tend to be a little bit hysterical when judging key forwards and number one draft picks. They don’t get a lot of time to develop. Number one draft picks who are midfielders - we know they are going to have more of an impact at the start of their careers than the big forwards.
“There is no doubt Paddy McCartin has got a few things that he needs to work on his game. He needs to work on his fitness, he needs to shed a little bit, he needs to get himself ripped up a little bit more and he’s got to be very careful with the concussion issues he has had, but in two or three years’ time he will be a super player.”