Ball relieved to land in Magpie nest - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ball relieved to land in Magpie nest

27/11/2009 04:43:46 PM Comments (0)

Luke Ball admits there is more to his departure from St Kilda than the AFL midfielder wants to discuss.

Whatever the new Magpie is keeping to himself, he insists there is no bitterness towards the Saints.

Ball decided to leave his AFL home of eight years after a tumultuous season when the Saints nearly won the premiership and he was dropped twice.

Friday morning's media conference at Collingwood was the first time Ball had spoken to the media since grand final week.

"I've moved on from St Kilda with no bitterness or resentment or anything like that at all - I had eight fantastic years at the club," Ball said.

"I guess, after eight years, I actually just felt like I needed a fresh start and a fresh opportunity - that's a pretty simple way to put it, isn't it?

"Maybe when the dust settles a bit, I will be able to explain it a bit better."

Ball made a point of thanking long-time St Kilda recruiter John Beveridge and stressed he had no problem with coach Ross Lyon.

He is also confident the long-standing friendships he has from the Saints will continue.

"I have nothing but respect and thanks for Ross and the work he put into me in his time there at the club," he said.

"I absolutely wish him and the club all the best for next year and the future.

"It's a tough game, it's a brutal game - you never think or wish you'd have to go through something like that."

The 25-year-old former All-Australian became the biggest story of Thursday night's national draft after the Saints and Collingwood failed to work out a deal during trade week.

Ball wanted a trade to the Magpies who he feels remain premiership contenders.

Despite speculation that a club would pick Ball in the draft before Collingwood had a chance, he lasted until their first selection at No.30.

Ball had prepared himself for the chance that another club might take him.

But more than anything, after several weeks of sleepless nights and avoiding newspapers, Ball's life can return to normal.

"It's a huge relief to have it over and done with," he said.

Ball also defended his manager Paul Connors for the way things were handled, with some criticism about the price that was put on his head.

"To hear that we were going about it the wrong way was probably a little bit of news to me, because from my point of view, that was just Paul doing his job," Ball said.

Ball watched the draft on television with former Saints team-mate Matt Maguire, who went to Brisbane with a later pick.

Ball admits he felt as nervous as when the Saints recruited him with pick No.2 in the 2001 draft.

He left for Arizona on Friday to join the Magpies at their high-altitude training camp.

After 142 senior games and some well-documented injury problems, Ball said his best football is to come.

"I'm supremely confident - looking back, I've probably only done one full pre-season, if I'm going to be honest about it," he said.

"I'm really confident that provided I want to do the work - which I'm pretty sure that I do - I've still got some good footy left in me."

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