MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Dan Hannebery congratulates Jack Steele of the Saints after winning the round one AFL match between the St Kilda Saints and the Gold Coast Suns at Marvel Stadium on March 24, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

St Kilda’s Dan Hannebery will need to wait a little longer before making his Saints debut, as he continues to battle a number of soft-tissue injuries.

The 28-year-old was looking at making his debut early in the season for his new club, but has now targeted the second half of the year for his return.

“It’s been a bloody frustrating time post-Christmas, but in saying that I’m doing a mountain of work on-field and off-field trying to get the body right for the long-term,” Hannebery told Channel Seven on Sunday.

“And not an eight, nine, 10-week period where you’re getting judged off a half year where you’re not playing and hopefully trying to play five or six years for St Kilda.

“In a way you feel like you’re letting them down in a little way, but long term I’m really confident that I’ll get myself right.

“Being that close a few times and then having to pull back with a few minor niggles has been really frustrating.

“But I’m really confident in the back half of the year that I’ll get some really good footy in.”

St Kilda coach Alan Richardson touched on Hannebery’s situation after the Saints defeated Hawthorn on Sunday, and says there’s progress being made, but admits he needs to train continuously to be in contention.

“That was the part that was frustrating Hanners and frustrating us, that as he was starting to step it up, he was continually getting sore,” Richardson said.

“It looks like he’s getting there now. It’s going to take a lot of continuity of training.”

St Kilda look to being on their 3-1 start to the season when they face Melbourne this Saturday afternoon.