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Ross rise reward for effort says Richardson

Josh Gabelich  June 19, 2017 10:32 AM

Full post-match: Alan Richardson Watch St Kilda's press conference after round 13's match against North Melbourne
AFL 2017 Round 13 - North Melbourne v St Kilda

Emerging Star Seb Ross is averaging the 7th most disposals (30.8) in the AFL.

There’s no harder worker at our footy club; there’s no one that came back post last season fitter.

Tom Mitchell, Zach Merrett, Gary Ablett, Matt Crouch, Rory Laird and Andrew Gaff are the only players in the competition averaging more disposals than Seb Ross in 2017.

After playing every game in a breakout 2016, the 24-year-old midfielder has elevated himself into the elite bracket of midfielders this season and it’s on the back of hard work, according to Saints Coach Alan Richardson.

Ross continued his stunning form against North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Friday night, this time collecting an equal game-high 32 disposals – his 9th consecutive haul of 30 or more – 413 metres gained and 59.5 pressure points – the most on the ground.

Richardson believes Ross’ remarkable run of consistency this season is on the back of the commitment to his craft, starting during the off-season in September and October, as well as his increased experience at the level.

“There’s no harder worker at our footy club; there’s no one that came back post last season fitter,” Richardson told reporters following St Kilda’s 17-point win over North Melbourne on Friday night.

“There might be blokes that can run a bit quicker, but his commitment to his footy and his commitment to his teammates is just outstanding.

“He’s been really consistent and it’s on the back of a couple of really good pre-seasons.

“He’s now ticked over pretty close to 70 games, so he’s in that bracket where you want blokes to be having a real influence.

“If he doesn’t have that sort of performance, given that Jack’s being quelled, then you don’t get the sort of footy that we got for three quarters, so it’s a real credit to him.

“For the first time he’s been acknowledged by his teammates and he’s become a leader and he sets a great example. He’s going really well.

Richardson said St Kilda focused on being more aggressive with their ball movement at training last week and put their practice into performance against Brad Scott’s side to arrest a three-game losing run.

“Our training was just to be a bit more aggressive with the ball, that we were prepared to take risks,” Richardson said.

“We were able to turn a few over today of the Kangaroos. A lot of our opportunities came off the back of really strong defence.

“I thought, led by our skipper down back, our ability to make really good choice to come forward.

“When I’ve spoken about how aggressive and how bold we’ve wanted to be, you just think of offence but you need to be aggressive in defence; you need to leave your man and support and they did that.”

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