A drawn-out affair has come to an unsurprising resolution, with Nick Dal Santo penning a three-year deal with the North Melbourne Kangaroos via free agency.
The move has taken place after a list rejuvenation at St. Kilda as Scott Watters aims to rebuild much of his ageing squad following an appalling 2013 season.
"Nick has been a valuable part of St Kilda for a long time and will always be remembered fondly for his contribution to the club," Watters said.
"While we are disappointed to let go of a person of Nick's calibre, he moves to a new team that presents a new opportunity to him and I would personally like to wish him well for his future."
While he remains supremely talented, the Saints have decided against renewing 29-year-old Dal Santo’s contract in attempt to free the wage bill, secure compensation draft picks and make way for the likes of David Armitage and Jack Steven to carry the young St. Kilda midfield into 2014.
The Kangaroos have leapt at the chance to secure the classy on-baller’s signature amidst strong interest from Essendon.
"We identified Nick as a player we wanted and we are thrilled to have finally landed him," the club's general manager of list and player personnel Cameron Joyce said.
"He will be a valuable addition to our team for many years to come."
"Nick is an experienced, elite midfielder who will add some more class to our list."
Dal Santo himself has cited a desire for change as motivation to move to the budding Kangaroos. He has also hinted St. Kilda’s dual heartbreak in 2009 and 2010, when they fell to defeat in the Grand Final in both years.
Taking his advanced age into consideration, it is likely that Dal Santo saw a move to Arden Street as his last chance to achieve the AFL’s greatest honour – the Grand Final.
"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."
Nick Dal Santo was taken at pick 13 in the 2001 National Draft by St. Kilda, before embarking on a 260-game career spanning over 12 years.
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