2015 didn’t begin in the manner Seb Ross wanted it to.

A serious hamstring injury during the NAB Challenge series forced him to undergo surgery and miss the opening half of the season, extinguishing his desire to establish himself as a regular member in Alan Richardson’s side.

Following the unfortunate incident in Morwell, Ross worked his way back into the senior setup by round ten. From there, the 22-year-old played ten of the last 13 games, finishing with a full head of steam in the final month to build some momentum into this pre-season and into the 2016 campaign.

“I was pretty happy with the way I finished off the year last year, which obviously gives you something to think about over the off-season and you want to come back really fit,” Ross told saints.com.au on Friday afternoon.

“And because I did miss those first ten games, I want to get them back. So my aim is to play round one this year.”

With his hamstring woes firmly behind him, Ross has been pleased with his ability to back up session after session this summer and says the Saints are in good shape heading into the business end of the pre-season.

“It’s been good to get some continuity into my pre-season this year, obviously coming off a pretty serious hammy last year, I haven’t missed too many sessions,” Ross said.

“We’ve come into phase three of our pre-season post-Christmas. The boys have come back in pretty good shape. It’s the end of week ten today – we had good numbers out there and a pretty good session.”

In the lead up to last season, Richardson and many of the football department identified Ross as the player who would cement himself within the Saints engine room and bolster the clubs work in and around the stoppages.

And while 2015 didn’t pave out the way Ross desired, the North Ballarat product is driven to bounce back and establish himself amid St Kilda’s onball division. Although he knows he is not alone, with a handful of the club’s emerging midfielders coveting a spot alongside Jack Steven and David Armitage.

 “Obviously over the last couple of years we’ve lost some quality inside mids like Lenny Hayes and Nick Dal Santo and all those guys, so we’ve actually got a really young midfield and we’re all sort of building,” Ross said.

“We’ve got young ‘Lukey’ Dunstan and Blake Acres in there so we’re all really trying to push each other hard this year and cement ourselves in that midfield and help Dave Armitage and Jack Steven out.”