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Dal Santo wants to remain a Saint

Star Hawks re-sign, trade talk and more Jacqui Reed brings you all the very latest footy news
Nick Dal Santo of the St Kilda Saints celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2013 AFL Round 15 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the St Kilda Saints at Patersons Stadium, Perth on July 07, 2013. (Photo: Will Russell/AFL Media)
Nick Dal Santo says he wants to remain with St Kilda as it rebuilds
DESPITE growing speculation about his future, Nick Dal Santo insists he wants to stay at St Kilda and help guide the club through a rebuilding period.

Dal Santo was one of the highest profile names to appear on this year's list of restricted free agents.

But the star midfielder had an option guaranteeing him a contract for 2014 with the Saints providing he passed a medical at the end of this season.

Dal Santo told on Tuesday night he intended to stay and honour that contract.

"I'm actually not a free agent. I've actually got another year on a contract, which has been misreported a few times, but I understand that," Dal Santo said before the AFLPA MVP Awards at Docklands.

"I do intend on staying at the Saints, to make a long story short. I've been there since I was 17 and I don't want to change."

This season was a tough one for the Saints. After narrowly missing the finals in Scott Watters' first season as coach last year, they fell to 16th this season, winning just five games.

The Wash-up: St Kilda

Dal Santo acknowledged that after missing the finals just once from 2004-11 the Saints had entered a challenging transition period.

But the 29-year-old said he had been buoyed by the emergence this year of young Saints such as Jack Newnes, Tom Curren, Tom Lee and Tom Hickey, and was looking forward to playing a part in their continued football development.

"When I came to St Kilda as a 17-year-old, I had the likes of Robert Harvey, Aaron Hamill, Stewart Loewe and Nathan Burke to learn from," Dal Santo said.

"Now 12 years on that's us senior players trying to pass on the same messages and lessons to the young guys.

"Obviously we're still trying to contribute and play decent football, but it's also important to pass on some messages along the way."

Twitter: @AFL_Nick