<
>

New Dog Bruce has no bad blood with Saints

Josh Bruce didn't plan on leaving St Kilda at the start of the year, but when the Western Bulldogs came calling with a four-year AFL contract his decision to go was an easy one.

Despite their trade period rhetoric, the Saints weren't desperate to keep the contracted 27-year-old and certainly weren't going to match the big offer made by the Dogs.

Bruce admits he grew increasingly anxious as the trade period deadline loomed but he finally became a Bulldog on Wednesday afternoon when St Kilda accepted picks 32 and 51 for the 113-game forward.

"I absolutely loved my time at the Saints, there's definitely no bad blood there at all, it's just one of those things in football," Bruce told reporters at Whitten Oval on Thursday.

"Players and clubs go separate ways, but it is a little bit surreal ... I've always admired the club from afar.

"Obviously I'm really grateful for my time at St Kilda, they essentially made me the player I am today and I couldn't be more grateful, but I'm so excited to join the Doggies and start afresh."

Bruce played a pivotal role in St Kilda's forward line in his six years with the club after starting his career with two years at GWS.

But with high hopes for Max King and Paddy McCartin, the Saints hadn't shown a great deal of enthusiasm to extend Bruce beyond 2020.

The Dogs, on the other hand, were crying out for an experienced tall forward to complement youngsters Aaron Naughton and Josh Schache.

"I want to try to lead the forward line and be a bit of cannon fodder for young Naughts ... just take the hits for him and Schache and hopefully one of us can get off the chain," Bruce said.

"... I think St Kilda see their list heading in a different direction, they've got some young guys coming through and they've been really aggressive in the trade period.

"So they just potentially weren't in a position to offer me a long-term deal, which is what I was looking for at this stage of my career.

"We just decided to part ways from there and I think it was a good decision in the end."