Saints ace out for the season

19 February 2021 17:19:56 GMTPlus11

St Kilda have been rocked by the news Ben Paton will miss the entire 2021 AFL season after suffering a broken leg.

The Saints have to deal with a mini injury crisis ahead of the new campaign and the loss of a key defender like Paton is a huge hammer blow.

Paton suffered the horror injury during an intraclub game on Thursday when he was brought down by a member of the coaching staff, Jarryd Roughhead, who was making up the numbers.

The 22-year-old was taken to hospital when scans confirmed he fractured both his fibula and tibia.

Coach Brett Ratten says the injury to Paton hit the rest of the players hard, but has backed the youngster to come back even stronger.

"He's a great kid, he'll bounce back, it was pretty flattening for the group," Ratten told AFL.com.au on Thursday afternoon.

"With the respect and the love they've got for 'Pato' you could see the mood change. Even when we went back out, the first five minutes was pretty flat.

"He's in good hands with our doctors. It's just disappointing that he's done a lot of work and he won't get the reward this year."

Meanwhile veteran Dan Hannebery is making good progress from a calf injury but it is still touch and go as to whether he make round one of the 2021 AFL season.

"He's actually going pretty well, he's turned a corner and his running is going well," Ratten added.

"He should be, cross the fingers with everything going right, right for round one. There's still a bit of water to go under the bridge and he's tracking well."

St Kilda are priced at 14/1 to win the AFL grand final.

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