Belief in himself resurrects Armitage’s career
NOBODY in the AFL has touched the ball quite as many times this season as St Kilda’s Queenslander David Armitage.
The 26-year-old Morningside product has been a ball magnet with 264 disposals, 15 more touches than raging Brownlow Medal favourite Nat Fyfe.
Averaging a competitionhigh 33 touches a game, Armitage brings his red-hot streak of career-best form home to the Sunshine State when Brisbane host St Kilda at the Gabba tomorrow.
Originally from Mackay, the rise from fringe senior player to the midfield force that collected 45 disposals in the Round 6 win over the Western Bulldogs, has been relatively rapid for Armitage.
He played just 28 senior games in four seasons after being drafted in 2006 but has been a fixture in the Saints engine room since a breakout year in 2011.
Armitage said a perfect storm of factors had combined to take his football to unprecedented heights with six 30-plus possession games in eight outings this year.
“Being fit and healthy, and niggle-free certainly helps but it’s mainly about belief,” Armitage said.
“Belief that you are good enough to play at this level and coming to terms with the professionalism that’s required.
“You can think you’ve done enough to prepare but it’s never enough. You can always do more.
“I’ve also enjoyed the re- sponsibility of stepping into that elder statesman role in the midfield and trying to show the way for all the young guys.
“Before this year I think I had six 30-plus disposal games in my career and all of a sudden I’ve managed to string a few together.”
Armitage said the return of Saints skipper, fellow Queenslander Nick Riewoldt, from concussion was a significant boost for the visitors who have the same 2-6 win-loss record as Brisbane.
“Nick is ready to go,” Armitage said. “He’s done all the concussion testing and passed so it will be great to have him back.
“It won’t just be his footy that helps, but also his leadership. He always seems to say and do the right things at the right times.
“We know Brisbane will be tough to beat at the Gabba. They played some very good footy to beat Port Adelaide recently so we need a four quarter effort to get it done.
“We haven’t got the right result as often as we would have liked this year but the way we are playing is encouraging and if we can keep playing the right way, the wins will come.”