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Bulldogs' AFL flag tough for Dal Santo

AAP logoAAP 8/11/2016 Warren Barnsley

Nick Dal Santo could be forgiven for feeling slightly envious of the young Western Bulldogs' captivating run to the AFL premiership.

With the bulk of the Bulldogs team tasting glory this year after only a handful of finals matches each, the former North Melbourne and St Kilda star was left wondering what he'd done wrong to narrowly miss out on a flag on multiple occasions.

"That Saturday was a tough one," Dal Santo told Melbourne radio station RSN on Wednesday, a day after announcing his retirement.

"I was a little bit emotional that day knowing I never got that."

Dal Santo retired on 322 games after being part of the shock Kangaroos cull that also saw Brent Harvey, Drew Petrie and Michael Firrito depart Arden Street at the end of the season.

The three-time All Australian midfielder played in three losing grand finals with St Kilda.

In 2009, the Saints were beaten by 12 points by Geelong before drawing the 2010 decider with Collingwood and being soundly beaten in the sequel.

He also played in preliminary finals with North Melbourne in 2014 and 2015 after joining the club at the end of the 2013 season.

"I've put in 15 years' work to try and get one of those and you feel like we've missed out so many times," Dal Santo said.

"Jeez, we did everything we could and we just missed out twice."

Nonetheless, Dal Santo was full of praise for the premiers, who won the club's first flag in 62 years after finishing seventh on the ladder, hailing his "amazing" cousin and Bulldogs star Marcus Bontempelli.

"I'm absolutely rapt for him that he's been able to achieve and he had an amazing year and deserves everything he gets," he said.

"That's the thing I love about our game as well and I think the competition becoming so more at an even level, it's fantastic the Bulldogs can come from where they did.

"I just love the idea that anyone can win at any particular game during the year, let alone finals."

Dal Santo said he was always a long shot to extend his playing career at a third club after North Melbourne's elimination in week one of the finals, receiving a "couple of little nibbles" of interest for his services.

"(But) it got to the point where there wasn't enough (interest) to be able to weigh it up anyway," he said.

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