ST KILDA coach Nick Dal Santo says Steph Chiocci will still impact from the sidelines after the veteran ruptured her ACL on Saturday in a devastating blow.
Chiocci went down in a tackle in the opening quarter of St Kilda's win over Hawthorn at RSEA Park and was ruled out of the game soon after.
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St Kilda on Saturday night confirmed the former Magpie's season was now over.
"It's a big blow for not only Steph, but our whole program to not have her out there with us for the remainder of the season," Saints AFLW general manager Tess McManus said.
Dal Santo was already fearing the worst, speaking before the Saints confirmed the dreaded news post-match.
"It's never good when any player comes from the ground like she did," Dal Santo said.
"It's never good when a player doesn't come back on and you're told within 10 to 15 minutes from the medical staff that she's done for the day."
Despite the on-field chasm now created, Dal Santo maintained the 34-year-old would continue to have a "huge influence" on the group.
"Clearly the bit that everybody sees is her leadership and performance on-field, but [she is equally important] for the Monday-Friday stuff," he said.
"She's been a significant part of our group for the last six to nine months and we'll make sure she stays a big part of it.
"I still think she brings an intangible measurement to our group.
"I'm sure we'll find [off-field] ways - she's so invested, so sharing of information that she'll pass on as much as she can to the next person."
Chiocci captained Collingwood — where she played 55 games — from the club's AFLW establishment in 2017.
She joined the Saints with star Magpies teammate Jaimee Lambert ahead of the 2023 season.