Ex-St Kilda defender Sam Gilbert has returned to the VFL for the remainder of the 2024 season, joining standalone club the Northern Bullants ahead of Round 10.

Gilbert last played at the state league level in 2019 with the Sandringham - the year after the Saints delisted him.

The key defender played eight games that season for the Zebras and has since featured for Victorian local league sides Old Haileybury, Bonbeach and Bairnsdale.

A 208-gamer for St Kilda, Gilbert has joined the Bullants at 37 years of age in the midst of the club's 2024 campaign.

The club confirmed the signing of Gilbert on Friday ahead of their clash with Carlton on Sunday.

Gilbert brings 13 years of AFL experience to the Northern Bullants, having started his career in 2006 with the Saints.

The 194cm defender played in all three of the Saints' grand finals across 2009-2010, holding down a role under former coach Ross Lyon during the club's peak of the 21st century.

Gilbert's arrival at Kramer Street comes as the Bullants bid farewell to star flanker Saad El-Hawli, who Essendon recruited at Wednesday's Mid-Season Draft.

Rohan Welsh's side sit last on the VFL ladder after eight matches, having claimed one win for the season so far.

The Bullants host the 20th-placed Blues at Genis Steel Oval on Sunday at 2:05pm.