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Hannebery firms for Saints return

Hannebery firms for Saints return

ZAK Jones’ hamstring injury will be a factor in St Kilda’s decision-making as they weigh up whether to bring back Dan Hannebery for the crunch AFL clash with GWS.

Experienced midfielder Hannebery is pushing his case to return after successful rehabilitation from hamstring surgery in July.

He has rejoined his teammates this week after completing a quarantine stint on the Gold Coast, where he trained under the watchful eye of Saints physiotherapist Andrew Wallis.

Hannebery last week flagged a return for the first week of finals, if the Saints qualify, but coach Brett Ratten was more bullish on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old left-footer is “more likely than unlikely” for Friday night’s crucial fixture at the Gabba and shapes as a valuable inclusion.

“He’s probably done a little bit more work earlier, being in the hub and having the opportunity to have more one-on-one (time with Wallis) and training more specifically on certain things,” Ratten said.

“Hub life’s probably been good for him and he’s done a hell of a lot of work, so I think his numbers will stack up pretty well.

“It’s a risk, but it looks like a risk that we’re taking.”

Prolific midfielder Jones strained a hamstring last week during the Saints’ defeat to West Coast, which left their hopes of a first finals appearance since 2011 hanging in the balance.

The former Sydney star missed one match with a similar injury in July and is only expected to sit out the GWS clash this time around, with a bye before the finals giving him extra time to get back.

“It’s very similar to the other one that he had and I think he’ll be right for that first final, if we can get there,” Ratten said.

“He’ll miss a couple of weeks but that’s probably a reason to even consider (Hannebery’s selection) more.”

Luke Dunstan is also in the mix to replace Jones after overcoming a pectoral injury and featuring in reserves practice matches this month.

(C) AAP 2020