Zak Jones in action during a round six VFL game. Picture: AFL Photos

ST KILDA pair Jack Billings and Zak Jones will give the match committee inside RSEA Park plenty to think about this week ahead of Sunday's game against reigning premier Melbourne.

The Saints returned from Cairns in the early hours of Sunday morning after a one-point loss to Port Adelaide at Cazaly's Stadium ended a five-game winning streak, but wasn’t enough to displace them from the top-four.

Now they might regain Billings after he made a successful return from hamstring issues in the VFL on Sunday, putting his hand up for a recall to Brett Ratten's side after playing 75 per cent game time against Frankston at Trevor Barker Oval.


The 26-year-old spent the first half playing predominantly across half-forward, before Sandringham coach Jake Batchelor unleashed him in the middle after half-time, where Billings finished with 21 disposals, five tackles and a goal in his first VFL game since 2018.

Billings has endured a frustrating start to 2022, tweaking his hamstring in February before straining it against Essendon in the AAMI Community Series, then suffering a setback last month.

After missing last weekend due to entering health and safety protocols, Jones mounted a case for his first game of 2022 by producing another strong showing in the VFL.

Jack Billings in action in a pracitce match against Carlton on February 24, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

The former Swan has now played two games for the Zebras after taking a leave of absence at the start of the season and is considered a strong chance to return against the Demons.

Jones was in line to play against Greater Western Sydney in round six before his AFL return was delayed.

But after collecting 20 disposals and playing with the niggle that has always been part of his game, the 27-year-old is physically ready for senior football again, potentially on Mother's Day against the side his brother played 302 games for before retiring at the end of last season.

St Kilda has genuine pressure for spots this weekend, with a handful of others pressing claims for another chance at AFL level.


Former skipper Jarryn Geary has been asked to play wherever needed in the VFL this season, building his game time back up after overcoming a shoulder reconstruction, concussion and back injury.

The veteran played mainly down back on Sunday and collected 23 disposals against the Dolphins, but has also been used on a wing under Batchelor's watch and is ready to play senior football when the opportunity presents.

Tom Highmore was the carryover emergency against the Power and returned on the charter flight with the travelling party in the early hours of Sunday morning, before gathering 21 disposals and nine marks, a week after finishing with 30 touches and seven grabs against Greater Western Sydney in Blacktown.

Tom Highmore in action for Sandringham during a Round 6 VFL game on May 1, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Mitch Owens and Ryan Byrnes returned from far north Queensland on Saturday night after being named emergencies and starred the following day.

Owens hasn’t played since making his debut against Collingwood in round one, while Byrnes was one of the best players on the ground, kicking three goals from 25 possessions.

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Young gun Hunter Clark is expected to return from injury in the VFL this weekend after overcoming the shoulder injury he suffered in the AAMI Community Series at the start of March.

If Clark can get going quickly, it will mean even greater pressure for spots as the Saints chase a return to September after a disappointing 2021 campaign.