ST KILDA has inquired with Hawthorn premiership defender James Frawley about the prospect of coming out of retirement.

AFL.com.au understands the Saints are looking for additional key defensive support in their tilt for a premiership in 2021.

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The Saints have already landed Adelaide free agent Brad Crouch and topped up their forward/ruck stocks with delisted Essendon tall Shaun McKernan.

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Saints still in talks with retired Hawk, Carlisle set to stay

St Kilda chief operating officer Simon Lethlean speaks to Trade Radio about the future of defender Jake Carlisle and the Saints approach to recently retired premiership Hawk James Frawley

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But Frawley's proposed return to the top level would provide ready-made depth behind Dougal Howard, Jake Carlisle, Callum Wilkie and Dylan Roberton. 

Frawley, 32, retired last month after 100 games for the Hawks, but his announcement came after the club's last game in a sign he was open to going on again.

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It is believed Hawthorn is aware of the Saints' interest in Frawley. 

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Frawley, who also played 139 games for Melbourne and was named in the 2010 AFL All-Australian team, has a relationship with St Kilda coach Brett Ratten, as well as Saints football department staffer and 2015 premiership teammate Jarryd Roughead. 

Frawley's late uncle, Danny, captained the Saints for nine seasons and is a member of the club's Hall of Fame.

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While any move from Frawley would likely come after Thursday's Trade Period deadline, a trade precedent was set with former Hawk Luke Hodge in 2017.

Hodge retired after the Hawks' last game in 2017, only to be traded to Brisbane on the final day of that season's Trade Period for a bargain basement deal after a backflip on his plans to retire. 

Carlisle this week agreed to a one-year extension at Moorabbin with a games trigger for a second season, but the Saints' tall options are thin beyond that.

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Veteran Nathan Brown announced his retirement this year, former Port Adelaide backman Logan Austin was delisted, while 197cm defender Oscar Clavarino remains without a deal for next season. 

Irishman Darragh Joyce also holds a contract with the Saints until the end of 2021, while Josh Battle (192cm) can play in defence if required.