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Roberton eyes R1 return

Experienced defender Dylan Roberton revealed he is ready and raring to go for Round 1. Dylan Roberton spoke to the media from RSEA Park about the his recovery and the upcoming 2019 season.
I don’t want to come in and just find my way again, I want to come back and play better than I did that year.
Dylan Roberton

Over 10 months since an on-field heart scare sent shockwaves through the football world, Dylan Roberton is back.

The star Saint confirmed on Friday morning that he’s likely to play in both JLT Community Series matches and is keenly eyeing off a Round 1 selection.

It was Round 4 last year, and the Saints travelled down the highway to face Geelong on a seemingly innocuous night at the Cattery.

But Roberton’s well-storied collapse early in the second term left a family and club shell-shocked, and threw a talented footballer’s future into question.

WATCH: Roberton on heart recovery

An arduous and uncertain recovery ensued, but the resilient 27-year-old is back to full health, participating in full contact training with the main group since Christmas.

In a year where the Saints fielded the second-youngest team in the competition, the loss of Roberton’s considerable experience (128 games) was keenly felt.

Compounded by the departures of Nick Riewoldt (336) and Leigh Montagna (287), as well as the long-term absence of Josh Bruce (91), the Saints were effectively down 842 games’ worth of experience for the 2018 campaign.


Roberton lies motionless on the turf after collapsing in Round 4.

But the 10-month recovery also provided an opportunity for the budding coaching apprentice to gain valuable experience in the box.

“I started (coaching) a couple of years ago and I was liking it, and then last year was a good chance to sit in the coach’s box and see if I really liked it or not, and it didn’t turn me away,” he told reporters at RSEA Park.

“It’s obviously my passion for after footy, so I look forward to still obviously being a player again, but I’ll still put in some work so I can further pursue that.”

FEATURE: Saints ready to rumble

In 2017 – his last uninterrupted season of football – Roberton’s form saw him feature heavily in All Australian calculations, earning selection in the extended squad.

And the important backman is determined to not only regain that form but surpass it.

“That’s the plan, to get back to where I was,” he said.

“But I don’t want to come in and just find my way again, I want to come back and play better than I did that year, so that’s the plan for me.”