BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 03: Zak Jones of the Saints kicks during the AFL Second Elimination Final match between the St Kilda Saints and the Western Bulldogs at The Gabba on October 03, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

St Kilda midfielder Zak Jones has taken a big step towards an AFL return, with the hard-nosed Saint set to feature in the VFL this weekend.

Jones has been absent from his duties since the pre-season, having been granted an indefinite leave of absence away from the club early last month.

The 26-year-old last featured for the Saints in their pre-season bout with Carlton in February before stepping away for the foreseeable future.

Jones will now return to the field for the first time since the practice game, having been named to represent St Kilda's VFL affiliate side Sandringham in the VFL, according to 7 News. 

The Zebras will face Gold Coast at Trevor Barker Oval on Saturday, with Jones sure to add a vocal presence for his side as he plans his path back toward AFL action.

The Saints are currently sitting pretty in fourth on the ladder after hitting a fiery run of form across the past three weeks, recording wins against the Hawks, Tigers and Dockers.

While the likes of Jack Steele, Brad Crouch and Jade Gresham have efficiently worked in tandem within Brett Ratten's midfield ensemble, Jones is sure to add an extra edge should he return in the coming weeks.

The Saints will also clash with the Suns at senior level this weekend before facing Greater Western Sydney in Round 6, which may see Jones return to Ratten's planning.

Jones averaged 23.38 possessions, 4.38 tackles and 4.23 clearances across 13 games in the red, white and black last season, having had his campaign limited due to soft tissue setbacks.

St Kilda are currently without ruckman Paddy Ryder for the coming fortnight due to suspension, however have welcomed the return of Jack Higgins, who was sidelined with concussion for Round 4.