The march home has begun for a number of St Kilda players, who will return to Melbourne this week after spending the shutdown period in their home states or towns.

Head of Football David Rath said the club expected players to be back in Melbourne by the end of the week as preparations continue for a return to training.

Several Saints travelled far and wide when the shutdown period was enforced in late March, with the club keen for players to find living arrangements that suited them best.

For players like Ben Long and Jack Steele, that meant returning to Darwin and the ACT respectively, while for others it meant heading home to regional Victoria and NSW.

Rowan Marshall (Portland), Dougal Howard (Wagga Wagga) and Ben Paton (Tallangatta) have all spent time working on their family farms, while Dan Butler relocated to Ballarat and Doulton Langlands to Albury.

South Australians Luke Dunstan and Callum Wilkie both travelled across the border to their home state where less significant restrictions were enforced, while Jack Mayo and Sam Alabakis spent the shutdown period in Perth.

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Rath said it was looking more promising that players could return to training in small groups in the near future.

“We obviously need to wait for the green light from health authorities and the AFL, but we thought it was important we make sure all the guys are back in Melbourne this week,” he said.

“We have been able to stay in close contact with the guys through the online meetings and catch-ups so we know how each players is traveling both physically and mentally.

“Our coaches, docs, physios, welfare guys and psychologists have done an outstanding job to look after the players through this period and we obviously look forward to seeing everyone face-to-face when we can start training again at RSEA Park.

“How long the training period is remains unknown at this stage but we are confident we will be ready to go whenever the season re-starts."