ST KILDA recruit Sebastian Ross felt comfortable playing at the elite level on Friday night.
Ross, 18, made his NAB Cup debut for the Saints against Sydney and Geelong in shortened matches at Etihad Stadium.
The midfielder started against the Swans and racked up nine disposals against the Cats.
"It was good to get out there and have a taste of what AFL football is like," he said. "I tried to play my role in the side. It's much more up-tempo than TAC Cup and you don't have much time to make decisions."
Recruited from Horsham and North Ballarat Rebels via the 2011 AFL National Draft, Ross said he was happy with his contribution against Geelong.
"I guess both teams were pretty tired and we had had the break," he said.
"The game slowed down a bit and suited me better."
Ross said it was a thrill playing against Sydney champion Adam Goodes, who was recruited from Horsham in 1997.
"He seems to be getting better with age," he said. "He's been around a long time and is a double Brownlow Medallist, playing on him you can learn a lot."
Ross wants to make his AFL debut this season.
St Kilda plays Port Adelaide in round one of the home and away season on April 1.
"I haven't had any injuries. I've had a pretty good pre-season and have been working hard," he said.
"I'll try to keep working hard and challenge for a position in the AFL squad and if not I'll play my best footy for Sandringham."
Ross said he had enjoyed his first pre-season and had settled into life as an elite sportsman.
"We have access to the best facilities and you are training with some of the game's best and they teach you," he said. "Lenny Hayes and Nick Dal Santo come any time you need help and always have a spare moment."
Ross said training was varied, from ball handling and aerobic fitness to weights and yoga.
"I guess it's a whole new learning curve from TAC Cup to the AFL," he said. "There's a lot you have to learn; it's like going to school.
"I've learnt the importance of playing your role and how you fit into the team structure.
"I was surprised how much you have to know."
St Kilda will release its squad for its NAB Cup match against Essendon in Wangaratta on Saturday night tomorrow afternoon.