A number of key St Kilda players are facing delayed starts to their pre-season preparations due to injury, but the Saints are set to have a near full-fit list for Round 1 despite the setbacks.
The likes of emerging defender Nick Coffield, 2022 recruit Jack Hayes and midfield-forward hybrid Jade Gresham are all eyeing a return to action following respective injuries this year that curtailed their campaigns.
Both Coffield and Hayes saw their seasons end abruptly due to ACL injuries, while Gresham's last game of the year came in July before suffering a knee injury of his own.
The trio have continue a long path back toward full fitness, and aren't alone in their pursuit to play in Round 1 under new senior coach Ross Lyon.
Battle is understood to be partaking in a modified training regimen as he looks to recover from post-season ankle surgery. While still training at Linton Street, the 24-year-old isn't expected to reach full training until the new year.
Billings is also looking to narrow in on returning to full training, however, is also facing a delayed start to 2023 after requiring surgery on his back in September.
The 27-year-old is expected to train away from the Saints' main group in January, however, the club remains optimistic in his chances for Round 1.
The same can be said for Battle, Gresham, Hayes and Coffield, likely meaning Lyon will have a healthy squad to start his first campaign back at Moorabbin.
St Kilda's first to fourth-year players are expected to begin their pre-season programs in the coming weeks, while senior members of the squad will officially commence their 2023 preparations next month.
The Saints welcomed the return of high-performance manager David Misson as part of their new new-look football department, with former players Robert Harvey, Lenny Hayes and Brendon Goddard also returning to the club through coaching roles.