DAN HANNEBERY has joined St Kilda on a five-year deal after Sydney agreed to trade the three-time All Australian for two second-round picks.
Hannebery's path to Moorabbin has seemed assured since he last month nominated St Kilda as his preferred new home, especially after the Swans indicated they were open-minded about releasing him from the final three years of his existing contract.
The trade was confirmed on Friday morning with St Kilda giving up pick No.39 and its future second-round pick in return for Hannebery and pick No.28.
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Hannebery is set to earn $800,000 a season over his first four years with St Kilda, but will revert to a smaller base with incentives in the deal's final year.
One of the game's premier midfielders from 2013-2016, Hannebery has battled injury over the past two seasons.
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He finished eighth in the Swans' 2017 best and fairest count despite ongoing groin issues, but managed just 15 games this year as a limited pre-season and a string of calf and groin injuries took their toll.
St Kilda head of football Simon Lethlean told NAB AFL Trade Radio the Saints conducted a thorough medical on Hannebery.
"Our medical staff were very confident that any issues Dan has had this year wouldn't be a problem going forward," Lethlean said.
"He hasn't had a pre-season for the last couple of years and he's got some improvement that our guys think they can make through his groins and his posture and other areas he's started working on based on their advice.
"They're really confident he's got a lot of footy ahead of him otherwise we wouldn't have offered the deal we have, or seeking the trade we achieved."
Lehlean also said Hannebery would be ready for the start of pre-season training.
"One of the things with Dan is he'll probably want to come out and win the time trial," Lethlean said.
"We need to make sure we manage Dan for round one and for a hundred games for the Saints.
"That's the plan and he knows that and he will bring elite standards, but he doesn't have to bring it on day one by way of his own output.
"We'll work him into it, as you would with any 27 or 28-year-old on any list."
Hannebery averaged 18.7 possessions and 2.1 clearances a game in 2018, way down on his career averages of 24.4 and 3.2.
However, the former Oakleigh Charger is still just 27 and remains confident he has plenty of good football left in him.
Speaking at the launch of NAB AFL Trade Radio last month, Hannebery said his body had been "pretty sore and banged up" at times over the past two seasons, but stressed that over the final eight weeks of 2018 he had run out games as well as he had since 2016.
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The midfielder also outlined his reasons for seeking a trade.
"I think the time was right for me to come down, see family and friends, have a fresh start," Hannebery said last month.
"Both parties probably think it's the right call.
"My body is feeling great … but you never know what's going to happen two or three years down the track, it's a combat sport.
"The carrot of an extra two years (at St Kilda) played a major factor."
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If he can get back to his hard-running best, Hannebery will be a valuable addition to a St Kilda midfield that has lacked class in recent seasons.
The Saints also made an aggressive bid for GWS midfield star Dylan Shiel, but the star Giant has requested a trade to Essendon.
Hannebery was named in the All Australian team in 2013 and 2015-16, while he was also named AFLCA player of the year in 2015 and finished runner-up in the Swans' best and fairest award in 2015-16.