Saints leader Seb Ross has written the below following commentary about his decision to depart the club's Sydney hub to be with his young family.
On behalf of myself and my family, I wanted to address some of the commentary around my decision to head home following the Sydney game. This was never meant to be about me, and the last few days have not only been tough on my family, but also an unnecessary distraction for the footy club I love.
When we were told we would be staying in Sydney longer than originally planned, I made the decision to go home and support my wife and our three young children with the intention - and hope - that I could apply for a border exemption and return in time to face Adelaide. When the team was eventually granted a fly-in, fly-out exemption to Queensland the Thursday before the game, my chances of joining them faded.
But I always knew that was the risk.
Although I was torn between my club obligations and my family obligations, it was a risk I was willing to take. I knew I needed to be at home to help my wife Marnie with our five-week-old twin boys Vinny and Henley and daughter Charlotte.
This was never to be about me not honouring my commitment to the St Kilda Football Club - the club that I’m committed to and am proud to represent. This was simply me supporting what I cherish most, my family.
Thank you to Ratts and the club for allowing me to explore every option with respect to playing or leaving and then supporting me when my decision was made.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank our truly loyal St Kilda fans and supporters and those within the wider AFL community for your heartfelt support over the last few days.
To that end, I can’t wait to run out there alongside the boys when we take on the Tigers and I hope you’ll be cheering us on.
Together We Rise.