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Ross embracing the change

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 15: Sebastian Ross of the Saints (right) handpasses the ball ahead of Ben Long of the Saints during the St Kilda Saints open training session at Linen House Centre on December 15, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
St Kilda star Seb Ross was named in the 2017 All-Australian squad after a sparkling 2017 campaign.
I’m in my seventh pre-season, so I’m feeling really comfortable about the whole pre-season, it doesn’t really scare me anymore.
Seb Ross

Things are a bit different for Seb Ross this summer.

With so much experience walking out the door, he is now one of the more senior leaders at the club.

And after winning the Trevor Barker Award last season, he has established himself as one of the best players at the club.

But while some things have changed, the monotonous grind of pre-season hasn’t.

“It is a bit different now (after 2017),” Ross told Inside St Kilda this week.

“I’m in my seventh pre-season, so I’m feeling really comfortable about the whole pre-season, it doesn’t really scare me anymore.

“I reckon from my third-year to my sixth-year I’ve done the majority of the work, so the pre-season is sort of the same now, my body holds up pretty well.”

With St Kilda champions Nick Riewoldt and Leigh Montagna calling time on their decorated careers, more is being asked of Ross from a leadership perspective.

Nearly 12 months into his time in the Saints’ leadership group, Ross hasn’t tried to change too much about the way he goes about it, focusing on preparing to the best of his ability and being a sounding board for others.

“I’ve enjoyed it. I haven’t really tried to change a whole lot, the only thing I’ve tried to do is look after my own backyard really," he said.

“I think the strongest way you can lead is through your on-field performance.

“There have been some areas that I’ve really tried to work on, like giving and receiving feedback with the younger guys.”

While many of his teammates jetted overseas at the end of Round 23, Ross transitioned into civilian life, spending six weeks working alongside former fan favourite Jason Blake in property development.

“I did a bit of work experience with ‘Neill’ [Jason Blake], which is what we used to call him when I was at the club,” he said.

“I started there one day a week during the season and then because our best and fairest was in October, I wasn’t going to be doing much between finishing up footy and then, so I worked with him nearly full time for six weeks, working in the retail department of property development.”

After backing up a breakout 2016 with a breathtaking 2017, can Ross rise to another level again in 2018?