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St Kilda ruckman set to sign for two more

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 12: Billy Longer of the Saints is tackled by Cameron McCarthy of the Giants during the 2015 AFL round 15 match between the GWS Giants and the St Kilda Saints at Spotless Stadium, Sydney, Australia on July 12, 2015. (Photo by Matt King/AFL Media)
Billy Longer has played 34 games for the Saints in three seasons

RUCKMAN Billy Longer is on the verge of re-signing with St Kilda for another two years.

Longer is yet to play a senior game in an injury-interrupted 2016, and the Saints' No.1 ruck spot that was largely his last season has been claimed by Tom Hickey.

The 23-year-old could have been tempted to test the trade market at the end of this season when he was due to come out of contract, with a number of rival clubs keen to bolster their ruck divisions.

But understands St Kilda and Longer are very close to finalising a new deal that will keep him at the club until the end of 2018.

Longer's 2016 pre-season was disrupted by a shoulder reconstruction he underwent last August, which delayed his start to contact training.

After returning to play VFL affiliate Sandringham's opening six games this year, he was sidelined for six weeks with concussion before resuming over the past two rounds.

In the Zebras' loss to Port Melbourne last Sunday, Longer had 11 possessions and 60 hit-outs.

Longer, the No.8 draft pick in 2011, crossed to St Kilda in the 2013 trade period after playing nine games in two seasons at the Gabba.

The former Northern Knight played 34 games in his first two seasons at Seaford, including 18 of the Saints' first 19 games last year before suffering his season-ending shoulder injury.

St Kilda's ruck division also includes 21-year-old Lewis Pierce and American Jason Holmes, who are both out of contract at the end of this season.

Pierce made his senior debut this year in the round 12 win over Carlton but has yet to play another senior game, while Holmes played all three of his senior games in the final three rounds of last season.