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AFL: In-form Saint Jack Sinclair reveals how he became one of St Kilda’s most influential players

Jack Sinclair’s transformation into one of St Kilda’s best players coincided with the career-altering realisation about the positive impact he could have on his side.

Sinclair used to be, perhaps, indicative of the Saints for so long: great one week, not so good the next.

But the 27-year-old has left those days behind, with a move to half-back last season only part of the story on his way to finishing runner-up to captain Jack Steele in the club’s best and fairest award.

Sinclair’s breakout year in 2021 came during an underwhelming team campaign but he’s gone to another level this season as St Kilda sits inside the top four through five rounds.

He averaged a career-most 21 disposals a year ago but has spiked that to more than 27 this season, along with nine contested possessions, five intercept possessions and five score involvements.

Sinclair also sits inside the top 20 of the AFL Coaches’ Association champion player of the year award.

“It’s been pleasing. I’ve had my ups and downs, that’s for sure,” he told News Corp.

“Every year has been pretty different for me. It’s really good to see some good form now, but it’s obviously only early in the year and I’m sure there’ll be some challenges along the way.

“Being able to play multiple positions is a plus and I’m just really happy to help the team out where I can and rapt with being able to start the year so well.”

Sinclair shifted back to defence in the past fortnight after spending time in the midfield in the opening three rounds and hasn’t missed a beat, including becoming more of a leader.

But what triggered his realisation about his own influence?

“It’s definitely easy to be confident once you sort of start playing well and get some consistency because I think that’s something I struggled with when I was a bit younger,” he said.

“I’d play some good footy but I’d be really inconsistent the next week. I feel like once you can start being more consistent; that’s when others really start to trust you and you get a bit more self-belief.

“You can really start demanding more from others, and that really started last year and it’s continued this year.”

The Saints are a vastly superior version of the squad that meandered through the first half of last season, with Sinclair impressed with the “different” ways they have won during their four-match streak.

They have also won the last quarter by a combined 71 points in the past three weeks in another imposing feature of their form surge.

“I’m sure it’s not going to be super easy all year and we’re going to have our challenges, but I think now we’ve really started to develop some trust in the way we play,” Sinclair said.

“What’s been really pleasing the last few weeks is we’ve had a really good energy and positivity pre-game and I think that’s flowed into the games and we’ve been running out games really well.

“Second halves have been really strong for us, so there’s definitely some belief there.”

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