At a glance:
- St Kilda is discussing whether or not to bring in Dan Hannebery for Friday night's clash against the Giants.
- Defenders Jake Carlisle and Dylan Roberton are also in the selection frame.
- A win against GWS will guarantee a spot in the top-eight and break a nine-year finals drought.
Brett Ratten is weighing up whether to bring in several big names for St Kilda’s virtual final on Friday night against Greater Western Sydney.
Potential inclusion Dan Hannebery arrived at the Saints’ Noosa hub yesterday afternoon following his two weeks’ quarantine on the Gold Coast, and has made a compelling case to slot back into the senior line-up after his first full session on the track.
“The hub life’s probably been good for him and he’s done a hell of a lot of work, so I think his numbers would stack up pretty well,” Ratten said.
"We’ll sit down this afternoon at match committee and weigh up whether to bring Dan in.
"We got a good look at him at training this morning, so now we just have to decide what's the best way to go.”
Hannebery injured his hamstring in Round 5 against Carlton – his last senior game – before requiring surgery back in Victoria for a separate hamstring tendon issue in July.
The 29-year-old has played 10 games for St Kilda after crossing over from Sydney at the end of 2018.
But with a spot in the top-eight hanging in the balance and a nine-year finals drought waiting to be broken, the Saints are entertaining whether or not to roll the dice on the triple All-Australian.
"(His injury history) does play into it a bit and that's probably the conversation this afternoon,” Ratten said.
"When you're here and you watch him run around and everything looks good – he's vocal, he's a leader of our team and he influences others – you think it would be nice to have him onboard. But we do have to consider the other things as well."
Hannebery’s fast-tracked return has gained additional legs after Zak Jones was ruled out of Friday’s match with a hamstring strain following last week’s 15-point loss to West Coast.
There’s also the question about whether St Kilda will give Hannebery match simulation practice in a hit-out against the Giants later in the week.
"We’ve thrown a lot of things up and that's probably the last bit of the puzzle," Ratten said.
"(Do we) play him in that (practice) game against GWS before the game on Friday, or do we put him out there to play and get an AFL game into him? Then he might be able to get another game in that bye week, depending on how everything falls as well.
"It's a risk, but it looks like a risk worth taking."
St Kilda’s defensive end could also be in line for two big additions to combat the Giants’ tall timber.
Dylan Roberton is eyeing off his first senior game since a miraculous Round 1 return, while Jake Carlisle is on track for a recall after being left out of the side in four of the last five matches.
“It’s been a bit of a match-up thing (keeping Jake out),” Ratten said.
“We did go small against West Coast and we did pay a bit of a price for it, but some of the organisation behind the ball let us down as well.
“The run has served us well in games, to be able to run on top of the ground and use the ball as well, so it’s not all about defence, there’s a bit of offence in there as well.”
“He’ll be close and Dylan Roberton’s there as well, so we’ll talk about that this afternoon, but they’ll be in consideration.”
Trevor Barker Award favourite Jack Steele will also be right to play despite a corkie incurred earlier in the week.