ST KILDA forward Tom Lee has paid tribute to mentor Justin Koschitzke after a strong run of form that has seen the young goalkicker come of age.

After two months out of the senior team, Lee has returned a significantly improved footballer, kicking 12 goals in the Saints' past five games.

It's been an important period for the tall forward, who has gained confidence with every match and now believes he is capable of performing in the AFL after earning his chance as a 22-year-old.

And the teammate who has helped him the most is the veteran he is likely to replace long-term as one of the Saints' main forward targets.    
"Justin Koschitzke has been a massive help in getting me on the right track," Lee told

"He's a bloke who enjoys helping and mentoring young players and it's just been a good result that I'm in the same position.

"He's played the game for so long and he knows the ins and outs.

"His wealth of knowledge is massive and if he wanted to take the path he would make a very good coach one day."

Koschitzke, who is stranded on 199 games, has been unavailable as he recovers from a calf injury, while tall forward Beau Maister (hamstring) hasn't played since round 11.

Captain Nick Riewoldt has continued his fine season, but the injuries have allowed Lee to grasp his opportunity and prove himself in attack.

"One thing I've learnt is you get what you earn on the field," he said.  

"You get a kick because you've worked to the ball and you get a mark because you might have sprinted 100m.

"It's easier to do it when you're at the one club for a while, but coming into a new club it is a different kettle of fish.

"It's a pretty obvious one, but the harder you work the more successful you're going to be."

Lee was dropped after St Kilda's Anzac Day loss to the Sydney Swans in New Zealand and told by coach Scott Watters he needed to add strength and provide a better contest.  

The extra 4kg gained in the weights room has helped him over the past five weeks, with the Claremont product now looking to take momentum into 2014.  

"For me at the moment it's about building trust among my teammates and getting them to know that I'm going to go every time for them," he said.

"Just so next year the trust is there and they know what they're going to get out of me.

"They're the blokes that go the furthest, the ones that have the trust and respect of their teammates and coaches.

"That's going to be massive for me over the next four weeks."

Nathan Schmook is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter @AFL_Nathan