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Different year, different start for Steele

Josh Gabelich  November 10, 2017 11:33 AM

AFL 2017 Round 17 - St Kilda v Essendon

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 14: Jack Steele of the Saints is tackled by Zach Merrett of the Bombers during the 2017 AFL round 17 match between the St Kilda Saints and the Essendon Bombers at Etihad Stadium on July 14, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)

Obviously this time last year I still couldn’t run so it’s great that I’m fit and healthy and I can start from the start.

Day one of the pre-season was vastly different this time around for St Kilda midfielder Jack Steele.

The 21-year-old arrived at Linen House Centre, via a trade from Greater Western Sydney last October, with his foot stuck in a moon boot for the first few months, unable to do too much but look on from afar.

This time around, Steele put his best foot forward from the first day of the summer slog, pushing the top pack all the way in the three-kilometre time-trial before finishing in 5th place behind eventual winner Ed Phillips.

“It’s great to be starting day one and running the three km,” Steele told at the clubs first to fourth-year camp at Larnoo Pastrol on Friday.

“Obviously this time last year I still couldn’t run – it wasn’t until late January when I started running with the boys – so it’s great that I’m fit and healthy and I can start from the start.

“I’m just looking forward to putting my best foot forward in the pre-season, having a real crack and getting something out of it and then playing a full season with the Saints.”

After two opportunity starved seasons in western Sydney, Steele made up for lost time in his first year in red, white and black, playing all but two games in a winter that fuelled him with belief.

“It’s given me quite a lot of confidence – I played more games last year at the Saints than I did in my whole time at the Giants,” he said.

A year after making a move in search of greener pastures, Steele’s old schoolmate Logan Austin followed a similar path during last month’s trade period, landing at the Saints from Port Adelaide and landing in a house in Highett with Steele.

“It’s pretty cool having him here. We never thought it would happen,” he said.

“When we both got drafted we said to each other we might play against each other one day and if we’re really lucky we’ll play with each other, so hopefully we do get the chance this year to play with each other.”

While they never did cross paths while wearing opposing colours, they will join forces in 2018 and beyond.