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Longer grateful for clubs faith

Longer in for long haul Billy Longer spoke to SAINTS.com.au about re-signing with clubs until the of 2018.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 19: Billy Longer of the Saints competes for the ball  over Shaun Hampson of the Tigers during the 2015 AFL round 16 match between the St Kilda Saints and the Richmond Tigers at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, Australia on July 19, 2015. (Photo by Michael Dodge/AFL Media)
Billy Longer played 18 games in 2015.
I’m really thankful to the club and for the opportunity they’ve given me, and I can just look forward to playing good football.
Billy Longer

Billy Longer has endured a difficult 2016, firstly overcoming a shoulder reconstruction during the pre-season, before dealing with lingering concussion symptoms in the middle of the year.

But with both ailments now behind him, and with the ink still drying on a new two-year contract extension, Longer is determined to get back to playing senior football.

The 23-year-old ruckman admits it took some time to deal with recent issues associated with his concussion, but he is grateful fot the faith showed in him by St Kilda.

“I’m really thankful to the club and for the opportunity they’ve given me, and I can just look forward to playing good football,” Longer told saints.com.au on Tuesday night.

“It’s taken a bit of time to get my concussion symptoms treated, and that involved a bit of time away from football, but I feel a lot better now and now I just want to concentrate on playing footy and getting back into the ones.”

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As is so often the case in football, while Longer has had to deal with his own setbacks this season, Tom Hickey has grasped his opportunity, playing every game to emerge as one of the most improved ruckmen in the game in 2016.

Longer believes the fierce competition for spots at Linen House Centre is highly beneficial for the club and for the clubs four ruckmen in himself, Hickey, Jason Holmes and Lewis Pierce, who also put pen to paper on Tuesday.

“It’s really healthy for the club. Tom Hickey’s been playing some really good football for the Saints and we’ve got the likes of Lewis Pierce, Jason Holmes and myself who are really fighting hard in the reserves to put some pressure on him to make sure he’s playing a lot of good football,” Longer said.

While Longer hasn’t managed to play senior football thus far in 2016, he has spent more time working on his forward craft in the VFL, as well as playing behind the football on the weekend as a spare defender.

“We’ve all got individual things we want to develop and it’s about making the most of the opportunities we get,” he said.

“We’d all like to be playing in the ruck, but we’ve got a bit of a rotational policy at the moment and the other two are working on their craft up forward, or as I was doing with some work down back; they’re [the coaches] just trying to give us different aspects of the game to work on.”    

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