Jack Billings says the Saints aren't resting on their laurels after reaching the semi-finals last season. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

ST KILDA midfielder Dan Hannebery is "flying" as he sets himself for his first uninterrupted campaign as a Saint.

The premiership Swan has played 13 games for the club in two seasons since crossing to St Kilda at the end of 2018, with hamstring and soft-tissue problems plaguing his time at his new club.

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He was not part of the Saints' main training group at their session at Moorabbin on Wednesday as the club manages his load, but St Kilda is excited by his strong return to fitness. 

Teammate Jack Billings said Hannebery, who will turn 30 next month, was in terrific shape.

"'Hanners' is flying," Billings said. 

Dan Hannebery, pictured at a training session in late 2020. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

"I did a fair few running sessions with him in the off-season which was really good and obviously his running capacity is one of his great strengths and we saw that first day back last week in the time trial (which Hannebery won) and he's absolutely flying.

"A lot of the boys get managed depending on the week [in the pre-season] and he's someone we've got to look after with his history the last couple of years but the main thing is just making sure he's available and ready for a long season."

Hannebery was among a group of notable Saints who didn't take part in the match simulation drills on Wednesday, with recruits Brad Crouch and James Frawley, as well as skipper Jarryn Geary, key forward Max King and ruckman Paddy Ryder, doing separate work. Young gun Hunter Clark also ran laps away from the main squad. 

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Some of the players who did not partake in the main session did their own running around the Saints' RSEA headquarters, with Hannebery a standout. 

"He's in great nick. They did a running session today and he led the charge and was setting a good pace I heard," Billings said.


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Ex-Tiger Jack Higgins trained and looks poised for more midfield time, while delisted Kangaroos forward Mason Wood was also on the track as he pushes to gain a place on the Saints' list through the pre-season supplemental selection period. 

The Saints took impressive strides last season, claiming their first finals win since 2010 before being beaten by eventual premiers Richmond in the semi-final.


Billings, who will hit free agency at the end of this season, said the Saints are determined to keep moving up the ladder. 

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"We've already had discussions about it as a group and the main thing is that last year was a big step forward for the club and it was really exciting to make finals and win that first final," he said.

"But every year is different, there's no guarantees for us this year. Just because we took that step last year doesn't mean we're going to go again this year. We have to earn it and improve what we did last year."