A reshuffled backline could be on the horizon for St Kilda’s season opener, with injury and likely suspension impacting the defensive end a fortnight out from Round 1 at Geelong .

With the forward stocks ravaged by injury this time last year, it’s now the other end of the ground - which was largely unimpeded in 2023 - which is likely to see some change after an eventful pre-season match against North Melbourne on Sunday.


Defender Jimmy Webster is expected to face the Tribunal after an opening-quarter bump which ruled Jy Simpkin out of the match, before Dougal Howard was taken from the field with a suspected hamstring injury in the final minutes.

With Jack Sinclair (calf) also up against the clock for Round 1 and Josh Battle (knee) rested for today’s match as a precaution, assistant coach Corey Enright says there’s the potential for new faces to step up to the plate.

“For us as a club, we had four of our draftees from this year play today, which is a bit of a shot to the future,” Enright said post-game.

“All of them showed why they got drafted - their strengths and their attributes - so we’re really pleased and thrilled with the development in these guys.

“All the players that we’ve brought in to our club - Liam Henry was fantastic today and Riley Bonner had another good game - along with those draftees has been really exciting.”

“We’re fortunate enough we’ve got two weeks to train and pick our best team that we think can get the chocolates down at Geelong.”

Bonner was again a standout with a leading 30 disposals and 727 metres gained coming off half-back, while Arie Schoenmaker put together a solid maiden outing in Saints colours with 16 touches and 11 marks.

The likely absence of the 150-gamer Webster leaves at least one hole to be filled in the defensive end, however Enright is standing by his defender after Sunday’s incident.

"He's obviously shown some remorse there and I guess our thoughts are with the North Melbourne player in (Jy) Simpkin," Enright said.

"Hopefully he's going to be OK and you never want to see anyone go down. We'll deal with whatever comes out of it from there.

"We can only take Jimmy for the person that he is. He’s been a great character and a great servant for our club,. He is a great person and he's had a long time in the game.

"As we know with football, it's one step here or one step there. It's a really fast game, faster than ever. These things happen really quickly."

Reigning Best & Fairest Sinclair received a positive scan result early last week as he pushes towards a Round 1 appearance, however with a five-day turnaround heading into Spud’s Game the following week, there’s still some grey around his availability.

“Obviously Jack’s doing everything he can and we know what a good player he is for us,” Enright said.

“We’ll give him every opportunity. We haven’t ruled him in or out at this stage.”