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Need for speed: Saints to target out-of-contract Swans jet

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ST KILDA'S list management team has identified Sydney's Zak Jones as a trade target this season as it looks to inject some much-needed speed into its midfield.

AFL.com.au understands the Saints are tracking the out-of-contract Swan closely as they attempt to lure his pace to complement a midfield bereft of line-breakers.

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The 24-year-old remains content in Sydney, however, is expected to gain further interest from Victorian clubs inquiring about a move home should his impressive start to 2019 continue.

Jones has averaged a career-high 25 disposals from his opening four matches.

Having last signed a two-year extension in August 2017, Jones is yet to open communication with the Swans over a renewal beyond this year.

St Kilda, along with North Melbourne and Essendon, were among the clubs to chase Jones' signature through his last negotiation period before he ultimately remained in the Harbour City.

Melbourne has also previously considered partnering Jones with 31-year-old brother Nathan.

Zak Jones gets his kick away during the Swans' clash against the Demons. Picture: AFL Photos

However, it is the Saints lining up for dynamic midfield options, after missing out on Dylan Shiel last year. They are also expecting Greater Western Sydney star mid Josh Kelly to stay at his club next season.

Despite landing Dan Hannebery, who looks set to miss the first half of 2019, on a substantial five-year deal last year, the Saints' salary cap space will allow it to pursue more top talent.

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With Hannebery sidelined, the Saints' midfield has been led by inside bulls Seb Ross, Jack Steele and, before last week, Luke Dunstan.  

While Jade Gresham, Jack Billings and Jack Steven provide leg speed, the midfield mix has been described as too similar by those inside Moorabbin.

As a result, the need to add more explosive midfielders is high on the list of priorities in planning for this year's NAB AFL Trade Period.

Youngster Nick Coffield is one player with pace, however, has been overlooked for selection this season, while skillful midfielder Hunter Clark has played the past two matches.

Coffield and Clark were taken at selections seven and eight in the 2017 NAB AFL Draft, with last year's pick four used on key forward Max King.

A Dandenong Stingrays junior drafted at pick 15 in the 2013 NAB AFL Draft, Jones played his junior football with local bayside club Mount Eliza.

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