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Jack's a star on the rise

Travis King  June 23, 2014 7:30 PM

Jack Billings: Round 14 NAB Rising Star Saint Jack Billings is the round 14 nomination for the NAB AFL Rising Star award
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Billings gathered 25 disposals and booted three first-quarter goals against the Eagles.

It's been really good, I'm really enjoying my footy at the moment
PRIZED draftee Jack Billings has lifted spirits at St Kilda after he was named the round 14 NAB AFL Rising Star nominee.

Last year's No.3 draft pick has been one of the shining lights at the end of a dark tunnel for St Kilda this season and produced his best performance yet in Sunday's 33-point loss to West Coast at Etihad Stadium.

RELATED: Billings' nomination bodes well

Billings gathered 25 disposals and booted three first-quarter goals against the Eagles and used the ball at 100 per cent efficiency in a polished display.

After 10 AFL games, the classy left-footer has looked as comfortable as any of last year's draft crop, despite playing in a side that has been under siege after losing eight on the trot.

"I think naturally you have to adapt pretty quickly and adjust to the quicker game style and bigger bodies," Billings told AFL.com.au.

"It's a lot about having confidence when you're out there and I've just tried to do that.

"It's been really good, I'm really enjoying my footy at the moment."
Billings was certainly enjoying himself after he booted his third major at the 23-minute mark of the opening term on Sunday.

"I thought I was going to kick 12 or something," he joked.

"They sent (Mitch) Brown to me after quarter-time, so I knew it wasn't going to be that easy having someone follow me closely. But it was still good to get a fair bit of the ball."

The much-hyped draftee has lived up to expectations by averaging 14 touches, five marks and a goal per game playing mostly in attack.

He hopes to play more through midfield alongside one of his mentors, Leigh Montagna, for the remainder of the season but for now he's been learning forward craft from one of the best in the business in Nick Riewoldt.

"I've been spending a fair bit of time with the skipper which has been pretty enjoyable," Billings said.



"A lot of it (their advice) is just about hard work and realising the way they go about it (and) just how hard you need to work to be a consistent player at the elite level."

Billings, injured forward Eli Templeton and round one Rising Star nominee Luke Dunstan arrived at St Kilda in the off-season and form part of St Kilda's promising future.

They've been soaking up Riewoldt, Montagna and Lenny Hayes' knowledge while they can and, despite St Kilda sitting 18th on the ladder, there's strong belief at Seaford that the Saints can speed up the rebuilding process.

"In the next 12 months there will probably be a bit of short-term pain but I definitely think in the next couple of years once us young guys get a bit more footy into us and once we play more footy together we'll start to see a big change," Billings said.

"Before we know it we'll be playing finals."