INJURY-PLAGUED St Kilda veteran Dan Hannebery will tackle Geelong on Saturday in his first AFL game since last year's semi-final.
The 30-year-old has endured a torrid time since arriving at the Saints ahead of the 2019 season, playing just 13 out of a possible 61 matches.
But Hannebery has quietly worked his way back into fitness during scratch matches and Saints coach Brett Ratten has declared him right to take on the Cats at GMHBA Stadium.
"Everything going to plan, he'll (Hannebery) play," Ratten said.
"Unless he pulls up sore (from training) but he'll play his first game for the year which is pretty exciting.
"He's worked extremely hard and been extremely frustrated at times with his body but to get a little run at it now is great for me."
Despite being mostly consigned to the sidelines due to ongoing soft-tissue injuries for three years, the former Sydney star has been praised for his leadership and become a popular member of St Kilda's list.
Hannebery has played 221 games, including three grand finals for the Swans, but there will no doubt be nerves in his first game for 309 days.
The Saints likely only have two matches remaining in their season but Ratten wanted to reward the experienced midfielder with a mental boost.
"He's had three scratch matches now in five weeks so he's done a fair bit of work and he's ready to go," he said.
"It'd be great to play more games but he's got a couple of games to play then see what happens.
"The mental side of it is he's worked so hard and he's actually done so much to get back and play AFL footy."
LADDER PREDICTOR Where will your club finish?
The 11th-placed St Kilda can still play finals if they upset the Cats at GMHBA Stadium, defeat Fremantle next week and other results go their way.