Luke Ball to roll AFL draft dice - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Luke Ball to roll AFL draft dice

By Roger Vaughan 10/11/2009 08:07:06 PM Comments (0)

Midfielder Luke Ball will roll the dice in the AFL national draft, spurning Melbourne's interest and remaining hopeful of going to a potential premiership contender.

Ball was the only out-of-contract listed player to nominate for the November 26 draft by Tuesday's 2pm deadline.

The 25-year-old had officially cut ties with St Kilda earlier in the day, ending his 142-game career with the Saints.

Ball originally asked St Kilda for a trade with Collingwood last month, but the two clubs were unable to work out a deal.

Once the Collingwood deal did not go ahead, Melbourne expressed a strong interest in the former Saints captain and 2005 All-Australian.

Their plan was to pick up Ball with their first pick in the December 15 pre-season draft.

Ball's decision to nominate for the national draft was a strong statement that he does not want to join the Demons.

Collingwood remains Ball's preferred destination and he will be the biggest name in this draft.

Essendon and Brisbane have also expressed interest in him.

Ball is overseas and his manager Paul Connors did not want to comment on the onballer's playing future.

The Demons also would not comment specifically on Ball.

"We are in a really strong drafting position and we'll use our picks to the best of our advantage," said recruiting spokesman Tim Harrington.

Ball and Connors have not commented about the player's original decision to leave St Kilda.

The Saints had spoken earlier this year about a new three-year deal, but that was off the table by the end of trade week.

Ball was dropped this season and played 19 games, including the grand final loss to Geelong.

He made his senior debut in 2003 and played 142 games for the Saints, captaining them in 2006-07.

Along with All-Australian honours, Ball was the joint winner of the club's best-and-fairest award in 2005.

Saints coach Ross Lyon met with him after the Collingwood trade did not go ahead, but Ball was unmoved.

"Lyon recently met with Ball to reiterate the Saints' interests in retaining Luke and also outlined the improvements necessary for both Luke and the entire St Kilda playing list to again be competitive in 2010," the club said in a statement on Tuesday.

"However, Luke has now made the decision to pursue his career elsewhere.

"While St Kilda is disappointed with Luke's decision, the club believes it has conducted itself appropriately through what have been lengthy and complex negotiations in attempting to find a fair and reasonable outcome for all concerned."

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