Saints yet to confirm Steven’s return

Saints yet to confirm Steven’s return

ST KILDA star Jack Steven is far from certain to return for Sunday’s big AFL game against Hawthorn.

The four-time club best and fairest trained on Friday but coach Alan Richardson would not confirm the midfielder’s position in their final 22.

Steven returned from time off because of mental health issues to play in the Saints’ opening two wins, before being rested for their narrow away loss to Fremantle.

Steven would be a massive boost for the Marvel Stadium clash but the Saints will be cautious with him.

“We’re still not sure … he did a really good effort to get up for our first couple of weeks and we alluded to last week, he was a little bit sore, he wasn’t quite right,” Richardson said.

“We’ll just have to wait and see, firstly how he trains and then how he pulls up.

“It’s just making sure he’s right to play.”

Big-name recruit Dan Hannebery also had a light run on Friday at Moorabbin as he tries to rebuild fitness.

The former Sydney star is yet to play this year and Richardson remains unsure when he’ll be ready.

Asked if Hannebery might be right by round six, Richardson said “it will be a bit longer than that.

“It all depends on how he progresses and as we up the ante, and as he gets more intensity into his training, how he responds,” he said.

The Saints only have a win and a draw from their past 10 clashes with Hawthorn, who represent a step up in opposition after Gold Coast, Essendon and the Dockers.

Star recruit Chad Wingard was pivotal last week in his Hawthorn debut but Richardson said he is only one of several challenges for the Saints defence.

Apart from Luke Breust and Jack Gunston, Isaac Smith is spending more time in attack and Jarryd Roughead will return from injury.

“He makes the most of any opportunity he gets, so we have a lot of respect for his game,” Richardson said.

“They have a lot of talent in that front half.”

© AAP 2019