RETURNING Saint Jake Carlisle ran laps at Seaford on Monday on day one of pre-season, with teammate Tim Membrey declaring the versatile tall would have his "time to shine."
Carlisle, 25, joined fellow defender Dylan Roberton in running laps before moving to the stationary bike, as the first-to-fourth-year players completed a 3km time trial. Carlisle had hip surgery earlier this year and was able to return to the club in September following his anti-doping ban for his time at Essendon in 2012.
Small forward Jack Sinclair took out the time trial with wingman Daniel McKenzie second and Jack Lonie rounding out the top three.
Key backman Hugh Goddard was confined to the stationary bikes as he recovers from a ruptured Achilles tendon. Inside midfielder Luke Dunstan and ruckman Lewis Pierce ran the time trial but did not join in the contact work, with Dunstan continuing his recovery from a shoulder reconstruction and Pierce sporting protective bandaging on his little finger.
Paddy McCartin did not miss a beat after recovering from the broken collarbone that saw him miss the final game of 2016.
Membrey said Carlisle was working hard in the build-up to his St Kilda debut.
"I've been coming in a little bit over the break and every time I've been in here, he's been in here as well. It's good to have Jake back among all the fellas," Membrey said.
"I spoke to him this morning and he just can't wait. He's keen to get back into it.
"He had some circumstances where he couldn't come to the club last year but he's come in now and this is it, this is his time to shine."
Another yet to don Saints colours in an AFL game is midfielder Nathan Freeman. The former Magpie has struggled with persistent hamstring injuries and flew to Germany on Monday in a bid to sort out his issues.
"It must be so frustrating being in his shoes … but he'll have a few check-ups, get the right treatment and we're looking forward to having him back," Membrey said.
Freeman managed to line up in seven consecutive games at the end of last year, the last three of which were in the VFL seconds.
After St Kilda won 12 matches last season and missed out on finals on percentage, Membrey said expectations had increased.
"I think there are (increased expectations) but we know we finished the year off really well and I think we're just looking to slingshot that form going back into next year as well," he said.