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Continuity the key to Ross rise

Post-match: Seb Ross (Rd 9) Seb Ross spoke to SAINTS.com.au after our Round 9 win against Essendon at Etihad Stadium. (Sunday 22 May, 2016)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 22: Sebastian Ross of the Saints in action during the 2016 AFL Round 09 match between the St Kilda Saints and the Essendon Bombers at Etihad Stadium on May 22, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Seb Ross collected a career-high 37 touches on Sunday.
I’m starting to get some continuity in my football. This was my ninth game in a row, which is probably only the second time I’ve done that.
Seb Ross

The last time Seb Ross played nine games in a row was back in 2013. Now, the 23-year-old has made up for a frustrating start to last season, producing a sustained breakout patch to be one of St Kilda’s most consistent performers across the opening nine rounds of this season.

On the back of his standout performance against Essendon on Sunday, where he accumulated career-high numbers for disposals (37), contested possessions (16), clearances (8) and inside 50s (6) and acquired nine votes from the coaches in the process, Ross has rapidly become a crucial component of the Saints’ midfield.

Approaching the midway point of the year, Ross is averaging more disposals than all but two players at the Saints with 27.3 per game, a number that has significantly spiked from 18.2 last season on the back of an improved outside game to complement his work in tight.

In the aftermath of Sunday’s 46-point win over Essendon on Sunday, Ross said continuity is the key to his rise in contribution this season, built from a comprehensive pre-season on the track.  

“I’m starting to get some continuity in my football. This was my ninth game in a row, which is probably only the second time I’ve done that. I only got to play ten games last year, so I’ve nearly beat that feat,” Ross told saints.com.au following St Kilda’s win on Sunday.

“But as I’ve said previously, I’ve just based it on the big pre-season I was able to have and get some consistency there and that flowed into the NAB Cup and that’s transferring into game day.

“I think any footballer will tell you that (continuity is key for consistency). I think the way Hickey’s been going, this is the first year he’s been able to do that many sessions on the track over the summer. Jack Steven was able to have a big summer.

“I suppose the results go to show what you do over that summer period transfers into the season so I think any footballer will tell you that a good pre-season sets you up for a good season.”

A week after being comprehensively beaten by West Coast at Domain Stadium in all facets of the game, Ross said St Kilda’s ability to respond, particularly around the ball was crucial against the Bombers.

“It was really important to respond. It wasn’t us last week, particularly with the way we started the game, we got smashed around the contest,” Ross said.

“But we had a really good week on the track training our contest and we really flourished. The numbers are in the positive for us in contested ball and clearance and that’s where we were pretty poor last week, so that’s a good result.”