ST KILDA midfielder Dan Hannebery could return to senior football for the first time in 2022 this Saturday night after a successful fortnight in the VFL.
The three-time All-Australian hasn't played an AFL game since round 23 last year, but has made an impressive return for Sandringham across the past two weekends and is being strongly considered for selection against Hawthorn this weekend.
Hannebery collected 25 disposals and eight clearances from 80 minutes game time against Port Melbourne on Sunday, after finishing with 29 disposals and seven inside 50s from 65 minutes in his return game against Coburg a week earlier.
AFL.com.au understands the 31-year-old has pulled up well from both outings and has impressed the football department inside RSEA Park with his investment and leadership.
But despite a nightmare run on the injury front, Hannebery has a proven track record of returning late in the season and performing.
The 2012 premiership Swan has finished all three seasons at St Kilda in the senior side, including the two finals in 2020, where he starred against the Western Bulldogs and Richmond.
St Kilda is still waiting for further medical advice on Jade Gresham and Jack Billings after the pair suffered injuries against West Coast on Sunday.
Billings is in doubt for the clash against the Hawks at Marvel Stadium after being substituted out of the game in the opening minutes due to back spasms.
Gresham sat out the final stages of Sunday's win over West Coast after the 24-year-old copped a knock to his knee.
Key defender Dougal Howard is expected to miss one more game after suffering a knee injury against Carlton in round 16.
The 26-year-old underwent an arthroscope to repair a torn meniscus, but is set to return to main training later this week.
Brett Ratten's side remains in the hunt for eighth spot after beating the Eagles by 28 points on Sunday, following a week of searing focus, both internally and externally.
The Saints face a brutal road to September with Geelong at GMHBA Stadium ahead of a final fortnight at Marvel Stadium against Brisbane and Sydney.