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Finals absence driving Billings

Josh Gabelich  November 13, 2017 4:19 PM

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Emerging star Jack Billings at the Saints' first to fourth year camp in country Victoria.

St Kilda young gun Jack Billings is desperate to experience finals football after missing out on playing in September during his first four seasons in the AFL.

The 2013 No. 3 pick demonstrated why the club paid such a high price for his services, producing the best season of burgeoning career in 2017.

Billings, 21, averaged 23.1 disposals – including 10 hauls of 25 touches or more – 8.3 score involvements, 4.0 inside 50s and kicked 23.36 across 22 appearances to take the next step this year.

And now he wants to part of a group that takes the next step.

“I’m so hungry to play finals, enough is enough, I just really want to play finals next year and hopefully go deep,” Billings told Channel Nine and St Kilda’s first to fourth-year camp at Larnoo Pastoral in country Victoria.

“I think the supporters and everyone is going to see just how good our list is.

“I really have strong belief that we can make finals next year if we all work hard and play to our strengths.”

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Billings and St Kilda’s other first to fourth-year players started their pre-season campaign last Wednesday, before the remainder of the list returns next Monday.

Two names that won’t be on the track for the first time in nearly two decades are recently retired champions Nick Riewoldt and Leigh Montagna.

While the Saints will miss their experience, Billings believes their absence will force others to step up.

“Losing a couple of superstars can be a good thing sometimes because it forces the young guys to step up straight away,” he said.

While he set the football world alight at times in 2017, Billings doesn’t appear to be resting on his laurels. 

The classy left-footer was one of 13 Saints to run a personal best time in the opening three-kilometre time-trial of the summer last week. Another step in the right direction for Billings.