St Kilda midfielder Dan Hannebery remains hopeful of playing finals football after hamstring surgery in July.
Hannebery – complete with black face mask – flew to the gold Coast yesterday alongside teammate Jade Gresham.
Saints assistant coach Jarryd Roughead is also on the flight with wife Sarah, daughter Pippa and new born son Will.
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“I’m not too far away – I’ve been fully running now for about two or three weeks,” Hannebery said.
“I did a massive session yesterday and I start skills with Rough for a couple of weeks in the hub, which will be good.
“There’ll be a few handy players up there to help through training as well, so there’ll be three or four of us … before we get back to our respective clubs.
“Hopefully by then, I’m ready to join in main training for a couple of weeks and then if the boys can hopefully keep winning, then you never know.
“There’s no certainties, but I’m going to give it every chance and it’s my best shot to get back, and I’m feeling really good at the moment, so that’s a positive.”
STAR MAGPIE EDGING CLOSE TO A RETURN
Collingwood says star Jordan De Goey is “not too far away” from making his return from a finger injury in a big pre-finals boost for the Magpies.
The explosive midfielder-forward has not played since booting five match-winning goals in his side’s Round 7 win over Geelong.
Magpies football manager Geoff Walsh said on Tuesday that De Goey – who underwent surgery to repair the flexor tendon in his finger – is getting closer towards rejoining the side.
“Jordan is starting to join in, albeit one-handed, in some of the footy drills,” Walsh told the club’s website.
“We’re getting some protective equipment made for him and approved by the AFL, so that signals he’s not too far away.
“I would hope around Round 16 around the bye week that he’d be ready to resume some significant contact work, so that’s great for Jordy.”
Wingman Chris Mayne has undergone cheekbone surgery following his brutal collision with Blues star Patrick Cripps on Sunday.
Although, Mayne was confident Mayne would return this season.
“Albeit it’s a fairly significant injury no doubt, (but) with the number of weeks to go and if we can push strongly for a finals campaign, we’ll see Mayney has time to get back before the season closes,” Walsh said.
Veteran Ben Reid (hamstring) is likely to be declared available for selection this week, while midfielder Levi Greenwood is a “better than even money chance” of also being passed fit after pulling up sore from his return game against North Melbourne.
Flynn Appleby is expected to miss three weeks with a hamstring injury.
DOUBLE BLOW FOR DOGS
The Western Bulldogs’ uphill battle to make the finals has become even tougher after losing Laitham Vandermeer and Easton Wood to hamstring injuries for extended periods.
Both players suffered the setbacks in the Bulldogs’ 11-point loss to Geelong at Metricon Stadium on Friday night and did not play in the second half.
While second-year speedster Vandermeer’s injury is expected to sideline him for six weeks, Wood’s is low grade and he will miss up to three, leaving him in line for a possible return for the last minor round game against Fremantle.
The Bulldogs, who are 10th with a 7-7 record, have the bye this round before facing West Coast in a must-win clash at Metricon on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Carlton co-captain Patrick Cripps and key defender Jacob Weitering will need to pass fitness tests to play in the club’s crunch match against GWS on Thursday night.
Cripps (knee) and Weitering (calf) both played out Sunday’s loss to Collingwood but Blues high-performance director Andrew Russell said they needed to be cleared due to the short turnaround.
“(Cripps) has got no structural damage, which is great,” Russell said.
“We’ll see how he comes up later in the week.
“Weiters’ had a calf knock. I think he’s a pretty strong chance of playing.”
Russell said Mitch McGovern, who last played in Round 8 due to a hamstring injury, would be available.
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