STAR forward Jesse Wardlaw would have missed the first week of finals if St Kilda qualifyed after a big hit late in her side's win over Carlton on Sunday.
The Saints were briefly in eighth spot after their win over the Blues and faced a nervous wait to see if they secured a maiden finals berth, but ultimately missed out after Sydney got over the line against Fremantle later in the day.
Late in the final quarter, when the game was well in the Saints' hands, Wardlaw challenged a ground ball deep in attack but tough Carlton midfielder Keeley Sherar came the other way, leaving Wardlaw worse for wear.
It took some time for last season's leading goalkicker to get to her feet and leave the field of play after the knock.
"If we are fortunate enough to play next week, Jesse won't be playing," St Kilda coach Nick Dal Santo said after the game. "It was a big hit.
"She's been a fantastic player for us for the entirety of the year and played a bit more ruck that we probably planned because she's got a skill set and ability like few others. But if we are lucky enough to qualify for finals, she won't be part of it."
It would have been a big blow for the Saints, who relied on Wardlaw to set up play through the middle of the ground and also present as a target in attack this season.
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Dal Santo, while pleased with his side's ability to jag the four points and remain in finals contention, did make note of some missed opportunities in attack in Sunday's 20-point win over the Blues.
"I felt like we were actually playing a good brand of football for the majority of the day. I still felt even in the first three quarters that the contest wasn't great," Dal Santo said.
"But I felt overall that is we just had used the ball a little better going forward, the scoreboard would have taken care of itself. And even in the last quarter we had multiple opportunities and it just didn't work out that way."