After being drafted by St Kilda, Darcy Wilson poses for a photo on November 21, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

FIRST-ROUND pick Darcy Wilson has made a fast start to life at St Kilda, winning the 3km time trial at RSEA Park on the first day back for the main group.

The 18-year-old started pre-season training with the Saints' first-to-fourth-year players last Monday, but made an early statement by claiming the first test of the summer ahead of Marcus Windhager and Mattaes Phillipou.

Wilson was one of the best aerobic runners in the 2023 AFL Draft class, recording the second fastest 2km time trial at the Combine in October with a 5:52.

With veteran endurance beasts Bradley Hill and Mason Wood not testing, Wilson positioned himself in the front group from start to finish before making a late charge with 200 metres to go before banking the win. 

St Kilda used pick No.18 late last month to select the forward/midfielder from the Murray Bushrangers, before swooping on Subiaco small forward Lance Collard at pick No.28. 

After a wet week of training in Melbourne last week, Ross Lyon's squad trained for just under two hours in hot conditions in Moorabbin. 

Jack Steele (ankle), Max King (shoulder), Brad Crouch (knee) and Dan Butler (ankle) all trained away from the main group following post-season operations in September after the elimination final loss to Greater Western Sydney. 

King is ahead of schedule and expected to return to full training as soon as next week after undergoing a third round of shoulder surgery in under 12 months.  

The 23-year-old spent most of the session running, nipping at the heels of Steele and Crouch, who are both expected to resume full training by January.

Wood wasn't on the track due to a calf issue and won't transition back in with the main group until the new year.

The former North Melbourne forward underwent a shoulder reconstruction at the conclusion of a career-best campaign in 2023, when he emerged as one of the best wingmen in the AFL.

Tim Membrey reported back for training on Monday after being a late out ahead of the elimination final due to a personal health matter

The key forward has been a regular fixture inside RSEA Park across the off-season and completed the time trial. 

Tim Membrey kicks the ball during St Kilda's clash against Port Adelaide in round seven, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Jack Hayes trained indoors after undergoing an arthroscope on his knee in September after making his long-awaited return from a knee reconstruction in round 24.

Recruits Liam Henry and Paddy Dow were out on the track after starting with the younger group last week, following moves during the Trade Period in October. 

After undergoing widespread change last off-season, the coaching department at Moorabbin will remain the same in 2024, with Brendon Goddard and Lenny Hayes swapping roles. 

Lenny Hayes, Corey Enright and Brendon Goddard at St Kilda training in November, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Goddard will step up to coach the midfield next season, allowing Hayes to step back to a development role to spend more time with his family after both returned to the Saints with Lyon just over 12 months ago.

St Kilda spent the entire 2023 season inside the top eight, reaching the finals for only the second time since Lyon departed for Fremantle at the end of 2011.  

The Saints were forced to deal with a raft of injuries last pre-season and will be hoping the rehab group thins swiftly this side of Christmas.