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Ratten wants quick AFL rebound from Saints

Coach Brett Ratten is holding up maligned St Kilda forward Jack Higgins as an example of how his team can quickly turn things around after their opening-round loss to Collingwood.

Facing Fremantle in the west on Sunday, the Saints are looking to rebound from a disappointing 17-point defeat to the Magpies.

Ratten confirmed on Thursday exciting teen Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera will make his debut after being the unused medical sub last week.

Higgins came under fire for a blunder in the third quarter when he chose to kick a long ball inside 50 to Dan Butler in a two-on-one instead of giving the handball to an unopposed Jade Gresham running past him.

But Ratten said the 23-year-old quickly learnt from his mistake and he hoped his team could also make amends in the same fashion against the Dockers, who pipped Adelaide in round one.

“We addressed that at three-quarter time … Jack made an error but the pleasing aspect was that he made that mistake with three to four minutes to go in the third quarter and then within three to four minutes of the last quarter he could have had a snap and he hand-balled to Jade Gresham,” Ratten said.

“He’s learning – he might make the mistake again and we don’t want to see it as it’s not what we’re about as a football team but for him to do what he did within an eight-minute period that’s encouraging.”

Ratten said his team needed to improve across the park with scoring opportunities missed, while they were meek defensively.

“We looked at the game and thought that’s not us,” he said.

“It wasn’t horrific but it left a bad taste in our mouths.

“We blundered some chances going forward and Collingwood out-tackled us – their pressure was better, they handled the pressure better.

“Some of our transition numbers defensively were pretty good but there were aspects of the game where we didn’t defend to the level we should have.

“For them to score 27 times from 54 entries is just too much.”

Ratten says star onballer Jack Billings (hamstring) is eyeing a return against Richmond next round while Zak Jones, who has been on leave for health and wellbeing reasons, has started running.

The midfielder doesn’t have a timeline to return but will return through the VFL.

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