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St Kilda recruit believes an early AFL debut is "gettable"


St Kilda ruck recruit Paul Hunter is intent on pushing for a spot in the senior side early in the season, saying he’s not around to make up the numbers.

The 28-year-old had been training at the Saints since the start of February, with the club offering him a one-year contract after he impressed in a match practice, while also seeking extra ruck depth after Rowan Marshall’s foot injury.

Hunter believes a place in the side is “gettable”, saying he wasn’t interested in playing “second fiddle” to an established ruckman.

“I’d like to say it was complicated (to sign at the club), but I probably would have taken (a crack at AFL level) at most clubs,” he said on SEN SA Breakfast.

“This one (at St Kilda) is where I probably thought the ruck position was gettable, so that’s why I sort of jumped at it.

“At the same time, I was of the view that I wasn’t going to go and play second fiddle to someone like Nic Naitanui (West Coast ruckman) and I made it pretty clear to them as well and I got the same sort of vibes back that (St Kilda) thought it would be a gettable position.

“That’s why I thought I’d come over.”

Hunter was originally on Adelaide’s list after being taken in the 2018 rookie draft but failed to play a game during his time at West Lakes.

He said moving states to chase his AFL dream was “pretty stressful”, but it was a sacrifice he’s happy to make for a chance to make it at the highest level of the game.

“It’s definitely tough moving interstate over and over again for footy,” Hunter said.

“This is the fifth time I’ve done it now and I wouldn’t recommend it as it’s pretty stressful. It’s been a dream of mine (to play AFL) so I’m still going to make those sacrifices – I’ve already made too many.

“It’s a bit of a tough one.”

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