Dougal Howard is closing in on a return to footy, only needing to make it through training this week to make himself available for selection.

The key defender is yet to play a formal game in 2024 after injuring his hamstring in the dying moments of the Saints’ AAMI Community Series game.

“It was a disappointing blow for Dougal, who had done the entirety of pre-season only to get injured right before the formal commencement of the season,” EGM Football David Misson said.

“Hopefully he ticks these last few boxes, and we see him back playing very soon.”

Paddy Dow is also very close to making his debut in Saints colours, as he looks to finalise the rehabilitation on a knee injury.

James Van Es (ankle), Hunter Clark (calf), Matthew Allison (knee), Ben Paton (pectoral) and Mason Wood (collarbone) are all currently on track to return within the month, while Brad Crouch (knee) and Liam Henry (hamstring) are not too far behind.

Injury list

Dougal Howard Hamstring Test
Paddy Dow Knee 1 weeks
James Van Es Ankle 2 weeks
Hunter Clark Calf 2-3 weeks
Matty Allison Knee 3 weeks
Ben Paton Pectoral 3-4 weeks
Mason Wood Collarbone 3-4 weeks
Brad Crouch Knee 4-5 weeks
Liam Henry Hamstring 4-5 weeks
Updated: Tuesday 9 April