ST KILDA has invited two players who were delisted at the end of last season to train at RSEA Park ahead of the pre-season supplemental selection period deadline on March 9.
The Saints already had two list spots available this summer but could have a third vacancy if young gun Nick Coffield - who suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this month - is added to the club's long-term injury list.
Former Port Adelaide defender Jarrod Lienert and ex-Richmond father-son recruit Patrick Naish trained with the Saints on Monday with the club organising their moves from South Australia over the weekend.
AFL.com.au understands the Saints will take a close look at the pair over the next fortnight with both likely to feature in Thursday afternoon's intra-club game at Moorabbin.
The Saints have plenty of depth when it comes to medium-sized defenders, with Ben Paton and Jarryn Geary returning from long-term injuries in 2022, Josh Battle moving down back, Jimmy Webster returning to full fitness last year and Bradley Hill thriving off half-back, but the club has the room on its list to explore adding another player who can play a similar role to Coffield.
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It is understood the added complexity thrown up by COVID-19 and the threat of groups of players missing games in 2022 – potentially exposing youth before they're ready – made the list management team put some time into identifying players last week.
Lienert, 27, had returned to his SANFL club Sturt after he was delisted following 23 games across five seasons for Port Adelaide, but could now be in the frame to be selected as a mature-age recruit twice after the Power first selected him as a 22-year-old.
Naish managed nine games across four seasons at Punt Road, struggling to cement a permanent spot at half-back or on a wing in a side that won two premierships during his time at the club.
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The 23-year-old attracted interest from other clubs leading into the NAB AFL Draft but didn’t find a new home, before signing with Norwood in December.
St Kilda is all but certain to use one of its vacant list spots on Woodville-West Torrens key forward Jack Hayes, with the arrival of Lienert and Naish to have no impact on his future.
Hayes has been training with the club since mid-December and has impressed many inside Moorabbin with his application across the past two months.
It is understood the 25-year-old has attracted interest from West Coast – who are looking for more security after losing Jack Darling for the foreseeable future – during his time in Melbourne, but the Saints would be surprised if he wasn't on their list in 2022.
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St Kilda list manager James Gallagher won't be rushed on making a call on Hayes – or Lienert and Naish – and could make everyone wait until the deadline.