Dan Hannebery closing in on AFL return

Dan Hannebery
20 Jun, 2019 by Liam Sheedy

Dan Hannebery has not played an AFL game since the 2018 Elimination final. Finally it appears the former Swan will make his long awaited St Kilda debut this Saturday as the Saints host Brisbane at Marvel Stadium.

Praises for Dan Hannebery

The 28-year old gathered 23 possessions in the VFL for Sandringham after impressing the previous week against Coburg.

Sandringham coach and Saints assistant Aaron Hamill declaring the midfielder would be right in the mix for senior selection this week.
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“I think if he gets through the week well he will certainly be banging Richo’s door down. He’s getting through well with speed and his body positioning was what we’d expect from him, so he was good for us.”

Spotlight on the Saints

St Kilda certainly faced plenty of media scrutiny when they signed the midfielder to a five year deal in October last year.

Despite a great CV that includes a premiership, AFLCA player of the year award and 3x All-Australian selections, there was a view from some pundits that perhaps the Victorian’s best footy was behind him.

In 2018 Hannebery averaged 18.7 disposals per match. This was the lowest output statistically for the 28 year-old since his debut season in 2009.
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The spotlight only intensified on St Kilda when Alan Richardson conceded early in the season that due to injury it would be some time until his new recruit was ready to play.

“We knew about his training history, or lack thereof, that he’d really struggle to be able to get the (training) time in. Did we think it was going to be as significant as this? No, we didn’t. We did know we were getting a bloke that we needed, to some extent, rebuild.”

A point to prove

Despite all the outside noise, the Saints remain confident the acquisition will prove to be a positive one for a club. Needing some class, experience and importantly a player who has been involved in a successful environment at Sydney.

The 28 year-old was initially voted into the St Kilda leadership group before stepping down from this role in a mutual decision to focus on his return to top level football.
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At round 14 it may have taken longer than expected but Dan Hannebery now gets the chance to show St Kilda and the rest of the football world he still has plenty to offer at the top level.

by Liam Sheedycontributor
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