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Sleepless nights over for new Roo Dal Santo

Mark Macgugan  October 22, 2013 1:35 PM

Dal Santo opens up North Melbourne recruit Nick Dal Santo speaks about his agonising decision to leave St Kilda, and his hopes for success at the Kangaroos.
AFL 2013 Media - Nick Dal Santo Media Conference 221013

Nick Dal Santo's move to North Melbourne ends a decorated career alongside his mate Nick Riewoldt

I'd be lying if I said I didn't have sleepless nights

NORTH Melbourne recruit Nick Dal Santo says his switch of clubs was motivated by a desire to experience a fresh challenge, and to taste team success once again. 

Unveiled as a Kangaroo on Tuesday, the 29-year-old, who played 260 games for St Kilda over 12 years, admitted to feeling strange in his new blue and white shirt.

But with the Saints now entering a rebuilding phase, Dal Santo said the time was right for a change.

"I guess it's been coming for a little while," he said.

"Where St Kilda is at, and where I was at as an individual within that club, has probably led to this point.

"It was a mutual agreement to go our separate ways.

"I'm turning 30 next year, so I'm looking forward to a change.

"It's something I felt I needed – a new challenge, a new group of guys to get to know and play some football with."

However, the decision to leave his club of more than a decade was not reached lightly.

On an overseas holiday with his wife in the lead-up to the move, the midfielder admitted he had found it difficult to relax.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't have sleepless nights," he said.

"I'm normally a pretty laid-back sort of guy, but I wasn't sleeping very well for quite a while.

"[St Kilda] is something that I hold dear.

"I got there when I was 17-years-old, and it's been my whole adult life.

"Probably 10 to 12 of those guys are my best friends.

"To play 260 games…I'll never forget those times, and I'll hold the good times forever. 

"So to think that I could just walk away and it be an easy decision – it was the complete opposite."

Dal Santo had also attracted interest from Essendon, but said he had been impressed with North Melbourne's approach, and flattered by its high opinion of him as a player.

He said the opportunity to join a building playing group, which missed the finals in 2013 but is widely tipped to rise next year, was appealing – particularly given his near misses in 2009 and 2010 at the Saints.

"Definitely one of the reasons I'm here is to have some success," he said.

"Being so close at St Kilda multiple times, you love that feeling, and it gets a little bit addictive.

"Sitting around watching the finals this year and missing out on that feeling – I'd love to have it back.

"[North Melbourne has] a young and exciting list.

"There are some highly talented young guys who are exciting, and led by some talented mature guys.

"So to be a part of that is something I look forward to."

Dal Santo has signed a three-year contract with the Kangaroos, but said he hoped he could play on beyond that period.