LUCKLESS Saint Dan Hannebery is edging closer to his first AFL appearance of the season following a number of injury setbacks.
Hannebery won't turn out for St Kilda in Saturday night's clash with Brisbane, which has been relocated to the Gold Coast, but will play in the VFL for feeder side Sandringham against Essendon on Sunday.
The 30-year-old midfielder hasn't managed a game this season due to a problematic calf injury first suffered during the January pre-season.
Due to ongoing soft tissue injuries, he's only played 13 games since arriving from Sydney on a big money deal during the 2018 Trade Period.
But Hannebery was able to train with the main group on Thursday at Moorabbin and coach Brett Ratten said he was tracking for a return to the AFL after a few games.
"Dan will play VFL this week which is great," Ratten said.
"He's been very patient and it's been a bit of a long road but he will play roughly 70 per cent of game time down there.
"He's done a great job and it will be good to get him back.
"He will have at least a couple (of games) in the VFL and we will make an assessment after he pulls up."
Another veteran, defender James Frawley, will also turn out for the Zebras.
Midfielder Zak Jones, however, has been able to bypass the VFL and will make his AFL return after suffering a ruptured quad tendon, that required surgery, back in early May.
"He (Jones) was eager to play last week but he wasn't quite ready but he's done all the work so we are getting a number of quality players back," Ratten said.
"He's ticked everything off ... from kilometres in his legs and what he's done from a footy sense so regardless if he plays VFL or AFL he's got the same game time so he may as well play AFL."
Star key forward Max King was missing from training but Ratten said he was a certain starter to take on the third-placed Lions, who have Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale returning from a calf complaint.