BALLARAT, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 10: Dan Hannebery of the Saints looks on in the crowd during the 2019 JLT Community Series AFL match between the Western Bulldogs and the St Kilda Saints at Mars Stadium on March 10, 2019 in Ballarat, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

St Kilda coach Alan Richardson believes new recruit Dan Hannebery may take a little longer than expected to return from injury.

Hannebery played just 15 games for Sydney in 2018 before making a highly-publicised move to the Saints over the off-season, joining the club on a five-year deal.

The inclusion was meant to bolster the Saints’ odds for the flag, although it’s taken a hit with the recent news surrounding his fitness. To back St Kilda in 2019, Jackpot City bonus codes is the place to go.

After setbacks during the pre-season, Hannebery was originally slated to return a month into the 2019 campaign, but speaking to SEN Breakfast on Friday morning, Richardson said his return will need to be delayed even further.

“To some extent he needs to be rebuilt,” Richardson said.

“I don’t think I did say Round 4, (but) I wouldn’t be surprised if it is longer than Round 4.

“It will take a while. I’m hoping it will be sooner and it will depend a little bit on how he responds but right now the response has been slow, the response has been consistent, and that is when we get him up to 31-32 clicks an hour, he’s starting to get wonky.

“That’s going to take time.”

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The Saints coach was asked about which injury in particular is bothering Hannebery the most, but he couldn’t specify just one aliment, suggesting his legs are hurting in more ways than one.

“It’s all of the above,” Richardson added.

“He’s been getting sore anywhere to do with his legs.

“Particularly his calves and hamstrings, but as we’ve upped the load in terms of intensity, his body has just struggled.

“He’s had two years where he just hasn’t been able to put in the work.

“He’s gone out and played without great preparation because he’s been able to do that for a fair while, he’s a real warrior, he’s obviously been a champion player.

“I reckon it has caught up with him.”

Given the nature of the injury and just how long it could take Hannebery to return to full fitness, questions have been raised over St Kilda’s decision to bring the 28-year-old into the club.

Richardson was asked if the Saints did enough research before pulling the trigger on the deal, but he believes the club knew what they were getting into.

“We knew that he had stints where he hadn’t played,” Richardson said.

“We knew about his training history, or lack thereof, that he’d really struggled to get the time in.

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“Did we think it was going to be as significant as this? No, we didn’t.

“But we did know that we were getting in a bloke that we needed, to some extent, to rebuild. Probably not to this extent, but that’s ok.

“He’s here for a long time, he’s not here for a short time.

“If it means he’s not with us for a month longer than we thought, that’s fine.

“We think overall he is going to be enormous for our group.”

St Kilda open their season at Marvel Stadium on Sunday against Gold Coast.

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