ST KILDA will delist Dan McKenzie this week but the door remains open for the luckless wingman to secure another contract with the Saints.
McKenzie hasn't played at AFL level since round 13, 2022 and only managed two VFL appearances this year due to persistent calf strains that led to a recent trip to see world-renowned soft tissue specialist Dr Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt in Germany.
The 27-year-old spent a week last month undergoing intense testing and training with the former Bayern Munich and Germany national team doctor in a bid to keep his career alive.
McKenzie has been completing the off-season program at RSEA Park since returning to Melbourne and is expected to begin a modified pre-season program when the club's first-to-fourth-year players return to training later this month.
St Kilda is understood to be open to selecting McKenzie during the pre-season supplemental selection period, but need to see the Caulfield Grammar product prove his fitness across a block of the pre-season before re-signing him for 2024.
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The Saints paid for the expensive trip to Munich and are hopeful McKenzie can finally overcome the frustrating setbacks after the consultation with 'Healing Hans' discovered some issues with his lower back and ankle that had been contributing to his calf strains.
St Kilda is expected to invite a few players to audition for a spot on the rookie list across the summer, but McKenzie won't be competing with anyone else for a new deal given his fitness is the only thing standing between him and another contract.
Liam Stocker and Anthony Caminiti both proved to be shrewd recruits in 2023 after training with the club during the pre-season supplemental selection period.
Rival clubs are monitoring McKenzie's fitness ahead of the Rookie Draft and pre-season supplemental selection period and could make a play for the Victorian if he gets up and running before Christmas.
McKenzie has played 73 games since being selected at pick No.22 in the 2014 AFL Draft, but only ever played more than 13 senior games in a season once when he reached 15 in 2019.
St Kilda delisted key defender Tom Highmore last week after announcing in September that they wouldn't offer Jack Peris, Jack Bytel, Leo Connolly or Oscar Adams new deals for 2024.