Ruckman Ben McEvoy left for an overseas post-season holiday with his mind firmly on playing a significant part in the rebuilding of St Kilda, but he returned to be surprised by the news that he would be traded to this year’s premier Hawthorn.
In the first big bombshell of the trade period, the Saints transferred McEvoy to the Hawks, which were keen to find a replacement for the retired Max Bailey, in return for midfielder Shane Savage and draft picks.
"I certainly didn't see it coming," he told 3AW's Sports Today Tuesday night.
"I was contracted for a couple of years and hadn't even considered leaving the Saints.
"Last Wednesday I found out that both clubs had been talking and they'd basically already come to an agreement ... that was the first I knew of it and I was obviously very surprised."
However, the 24-year-old said he was "not overly upset" by the decision and actually respected the way the clubs handled the trade.
"I recognise the environment that we’re in," he said. "As much as it’s still just a game of footy, it is a business now so (I’m) not overly upset.
"I’m sad to be leaving the Saints. I’ve been there six years and met a lot of great people and have always cherished my time but that’s the way it goes. I’ve been handed this fantastic opportunity so I’m excited about that."
"... I respect the way both clubs went about it because they waited until they got to a point where they could agree before I was brought into it.
"I could have been dragged into it early on and been dragged through the mud for a week or so. I was able to make a very clean transition.
"There are cases where it’s not done as well but I certainly can’t complain how both clubs handled it."
He said he understood that the Saints had to make tough decisions, but he was disappointed that he was not going to be a part of rebuilding the club.
"I know they had to prioritise. Obviously (with the) tough position at the minute they have to be pretty aggressive to try and get their list where they want it," he said.
"They obviously made the decision to get some draft picks and get a relatively experienced midfielder/small forward in there. They obviously decided that was the way to go, by all accounts it was a difficult decision for them, it took them a while to decide but that’s how it is."
"... It’s going to be tough for the Saints for the next couple of years. I was certainly geared up for that and willing to be a part of it and show that I could contribute strongly to rebuilding the club (and making it) successful again, but alas that’s not to be and I’ve got an exciting opportunity elsewhere."