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Injury-plagued Saints recruit back with main group

Dan Hannebery is back training with the main group as he eyes a belated St Kilda debut - AFL,Dan Hannebery,St Kilda Saints,Josh Bruce,Injuries
Dan Hannebery is back training with the main group as he eyes a belated St Kilda debut

BOOM St Kilda recruit Dan Hannebery joined the main group on Thursday as he eyes a return to the field within the next month.

Meanwhile, doubt lingers over the fitness of defender Jimmy Webster, who ran laps at RSEA Park away from the rest of the squad as he battles a sore left hand.

Hannebery's legs have struggled to cope when his load is increased, and while the triple All Australian will have his work limited somewhat, the 28-year-old's progress is exciting for a club with a brutal injury toll and desperate to field its high-profile off-season acquisition in the second half of the season.

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Saints spearhead Josh Bruce, preparing to line up in his 100th career game on Saturday afternoon at the MCG against flag fancy Collingwood, laughed as he offered advice for Hannebery, a noted workhorse on the training track.

"I know from experience, the first thing you want to do (at a new club) is train every session and play every game. To not be able to do that is obviously very frustrating for Dan," Bruce said.

"He's settled in really well with the playing group and we're all really excited to have him out there.

"We've just got to tell him to slow down a bit and make sure he gets a good training block in and we'll get him out on the field hopefully in a few weeks' time."

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Hannebery isn't the only big name on the horizon.

Star defender Jake Carlisle is running and looking to come back from back surgery after the bye, while inspirational captain Jarryn Geary is looking at a similar timeframe to Hannebery after a right thigh operation for compartment syndrome.

The Pies clash looms as a brutal match-up, but after that, St Kilda has a chance to bolster its 4-4 record, with games against Carlton (Marvel Stadium), Port Adelaide (Shanghai), Gold Coast (Townsville) and Brisbane (Marvel Stadium) on the horizon.

"If we can snatch one this weekend, then we've got a really good stretch of games coming up after that," Bruce said.

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It's taken the 26-year-old a while to reach triple figures, which was delayed after a back issue and a broken leg wiped him out for most of 2018.

"I was watching from behind the glass a lot last year and it was extremely frustrating, because what you want to do is be out there and help your teammates. I'm definitely grateful for being out there and playing 100 games," Bruce said.

He's not the only Saint hitting a milestone, with rebounding backman Shane Savage set for match No.150.

Savage admitting hitting the "crossroads" a couple of years ago and explained how he came through that.

"It was probably a mental thing. I've probably always had the attributes to compete at the level. It was about digging deep inside and readjusting a few things from a mental point of view," Savage said.

"I did that and I'm definitely reaping the benefits at the moment."

His brilliant banana in the loss to West Coast last Saturday night was nominated for the Coates Hire Goal of the Week, and he cheekily asked people to vote for him.

 

"I was under pressure so I thought 'Why not go for it?', and well, it went in. I can't believe it. It was an absolute fluke," Savage said.

"Make sure you vote for me if you haven't."