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Ross rises amid departures

Josh Gabelich  February 7, 2018 3:33 PM

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 2: Sebastian Ross of the Saints looks on during the St Kilda Saints team photo day at Linen House Centre on February 2, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 2: Sebastian Ross of the Saints looks on during the St Kilda Saints team photo day at Linen House Centre on February 2, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)

It’s something that I’ve never really aspired to, but as my performances have improved in the last couple of years, I’ve earned some trust from the boys and they’ve voted me in.

The winds of change have swept through St Kilda in the past 12 months.

Champions have departed the game and emerging stars, like budding midfield star Seb Ross, have stepped up in their place.

Ross, 24, followed up his breakout 2016 with a brilliant 2017, emerging as one of the most improved midfielders in the competition to win his first Trevor Barker Award in convincing fashion.

And while Ross’ performances have blossomed in the past two years, so has his leadership.

“It’s something that I’ve been involved in throughout my juniors and then in the TAC Cup and I spent a bit of time in the emerging leader's group as a young player at St Kilda,” Ross told SEN’s Time On.

“It’s something that I’ve never really aspired to, but as my performances have improved in the last couple of years, I’ve earned some trust from the boys and they’ve voted me in. So as long as they keep voting me in, it’s something that I will continue to do.”

The Ballarat product was one of five players unveiled in St Kilda’s 2018 leadership group at RSEA Park on Tuesday, with Jack Steven, Jack Newnes and Dylan Roberton supporting Jarryn Geary, who was reappointed as captain.

After Geary expressed his discomfort at holding the leadership title on Tuesday, Ross said the small defender's battle from the rookie list to becoming an established star and the status that comes with the territory were the factors behind that comment.

“Gears has never really sort the limelight or anything like that. He’s come from really humble beginnings coming off the rookie list,” Ross said.

“I’m sure it’s something he never dreamed of doing when he was a young fella.

"But he’s just turned into this really quality leader and quality bloke who has the respect of the whole side through what he has achieved in his career and what he continues to achieve.

“It’s probably something that he will never quite be comfortable with because it was something he never really expected from himself. He absolutely deserves to be captain and we love having him.”