Ball feels for his old St Kilda mates - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ball feels for his old St Kilda mates

By Melissa Woods 02/10/2010 07:12:05 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood midfielder Luke Ball revealed the challenge of facing his old club St Kilda in the grand final draw last week had left him an "emotional wreck".

But by the replay on Saturday, the former Saints skipper had his emotions in check and delivered a much-improved performance as his side enjoyed an emphatic 56-point victory.

Ball took time immediately after the full-time hooter to seek out his old team-mates, particularly his close friend Lenny Hayes, because he knew better than most the pain they felt.

"There wasn't a hell of a lot I could say, I just said to Lenny, 'I love you mate'."

The 26-year-old, who was co-captain in 2007, joined the Magpies this season in acrimonious circumstances after asking for a release from the Saints following their grand final loss to Geelong last year.

"It was strange, there was relief, elation," he said about the win.

"It's such a long season and it was even longer this season so when you look across and see some of my good mates who I spent a fair bit of time with, my heart goes out to them.

"I just know exactly how they were feeling after last year, it's a horrible feeling."

He looked almost subdued on the dais as he received his premiership medal, but said he didn't think it would have "looked good", coming in his first season after leaving the Saints.

Ball, who said he took a slight groin injury into the match, said the task of facing his old club took its toll and affected his game in the original grand final.

"I probably thought about it a bit too much to be honest before last week.

"I really built it up and by the time I got to Saturday I was an emotional wreck.

"Just the whole occasion, the parade, driving through the St Kilda supporters, I think I'm only human to feel like that.

"This week was a much more normal week and I was just able to concentrate on doing my job.

"I think a few of the boys were pretty disappointed with how they handled last week and we were lucky enough to get a second chance seven days later and I think most of the boys redeemed themselves pretty well."

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