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AFL 2022: Small injury list is the perfect platform for St Kilda to launch its attack on the season

St Kilda coach Brett Ratten couldn’t rule out injury-plagued midfielder Dan Hannebery’s trip to Munich for special medical treatment as his last chance to play again, declaring “we’ve tried a lot” to fix the veteran.

Hannebery, who is out of contract at season’s end, is one of just four players on St Kilda’s injury list, giving Ratten the optimal platform for his team to find its best football, starting with Saturday’s clash against Geelong.

But while Ratten said he “didn’t know much” about the treatment being offered to Hannebery in Germany by soft-tissue guru Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt, the St Kilda coached hoped it enabled the 30-year-old to add to the meagre 15 games he has played since crossing from Sydney on a lucrative deal at the end of 2018.

“I think we’ve tried a lot of things, so why not explore everything,” Ratten said on Friday.

“That’s what our medical group have done. We’ve got a bit of time, why not go over there and spend a week and see if it can help.

St Kilda vs Western Bulldogs
Camera IconDan Hannebery has barely played since his move to St Kilda because of injury. Michael Klein Credit: News Corp Australia

“The other side of it is it’s really good for him maybe mentally to get away from the game, get out of Australia, do something different, just to have a break or a pause and hopefully it really ignites him.”

The Saints have regained Jack Billings for his first game of 2022, leaving just long-termers Hannebery as well as Nick Coffield and Jack Hayes, who are out of the season, on the injury list, with Dan Butler just failing to recover from his ankle issue in time to play the Cats.

Several players are also pushing up from VFL level, including former captain Jarryn Geary and Hunter Clark, who is still “a little bit rusty” according to Ratten as he plots a comeback from a pre-season shoulder injury.

Ratten said the availability of nearly all his players could allow him to “throw” things at the opposition and work towards locking in on his best possible line-up to achieve what he and the coaching staff are after having lost the last two games to Port Adelaide and Melbourne.

“It’s been a challenge, what is our right mix? When you are winning game of footy you think that’s the right mix, but that’s the conversation through match committee, trying to get the balance right between attack and defence and the contest as well,” he said.

“We need a good spread of players in each area to achieve what we are after.

“Having the choices allows us to have some opportunities to move players through the game with versatility and do some things we can throw at the opposition.

“They don’t always work, but it allows us to do some things, which is really important.”


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