ST KILDA captain Nick Riewoldt has been given an extended break to regenerate after a personally challenging year and won't return to pre-season training until January.
Riewoldt's younger sister Madeleine died of the rare bone marrow condition aplastic anaemia on the eve of the 2015 season at just 26 years old.
Together with his cousin and Richmond spearhead Jack Riewoldt, Riewoldt was instrumental in the organisation of the inaugural 'Maddie's match' in round 16, when the Saints and Tigers honoured Madeleine's memory.
The match was also a major fundraiser for the newly formed charity Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision, which was set up to raise funding and awareness to fight bone marrow failure syndromes.
Despite his tough year off the field, Riewoldt continued to lead from the front on the field, kicking 29 goals from 17 games to finish seventh in the Saints' best and fairest award.
St Kilda coach Alan Richardson said on Friday that Riewoldt, who played in last week's International Rules Series loss to Ireland, now needed time away from football to recharge for 2016.
"'Rooey' (Riewoldt) is going to have an extended break for circumstances that we all know about. He's had a tough year," Richardson said.
"He's been able to do a bit of work in the lead-up to the Irish game and he needs a bit of a spell now and to spend a little bit more time with his extended family in Houston.
"So he'll come back after Christmas."
Richardson said fellow IRS squad member Leigh Montagna would return to training on Sunday, when the Saints commence a week-long training camp in Maroochydore on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
The Saints coach spoke with the media after the club unveiled 2015 draftees Jade Gresham, Brandon White and Bailey Rice (son of 116-game St Kilda midfielder Dean).
Richardson said the club was confident the outside run of Gresham and trade-period recruit Nathan Freeman would "strongly" complement the Saints' inside midfield brigade led by David Armitage, Luke Dunstan and Seb Ross.
St Kilda also announced on Friday that Pepper Group Limited had joined the club on a three-year deal as a joint principal partner alongside Dare Iced Coffee.
Pepper is a global financial services business and its new consumer lending brand Pepper Money will feature on the back of St Kilda's home-game guernseys and on the front of its clash guernseys.