Covid protocols will dictate what St Kilda players can do for a full week in Perth as the AFL rollercoaster continues.
St Kilda is set to spend a week in quarantine in Perth before it takes on West Coast in a finals-shaping matchup next weekend.
The Saints are preparing to leave Melbourne after their clash with Port Adelaide at Marvel Stadium, with finer details still being ironed out regarding their travel schedule.
With the Western Australian government tightening border restrictions, the Saints are set to follow a similar regimen to that of the Western Bulldogs before they took on the Eagles last month.
St Kilda coach Brett Ratten confirmed they were expecting to stay at the resort where the Bulldogs stayed in Joondalup and be allowed out of the hotel for training under strict protocols.
“Yeah, it looks like we will head out probably after the game,” Ratten said.
“We’re still just finding out the details with that. Can we get out on Saturday or on the Sunday? We’ll just wait and see.
“Depending on what happens to the fixture with Port and the timing of that game… we’ll be heading off straight away and getting over to Perth.
“It’s exactly the same (as what the Bulldogs did), same hotel as well.”
For the second time in just over a month, the Saints have been forced to exit Melbourne due to rising Covid numbers.
Last month, experienced duo Seb Ross and Tim Membrey opted to leave their temporary base in Sydney for family reasons, while earlier this season Paddy Ryder was granted personal leave.
Ratten said the club would continue to support any players who decided to put family first and remain in Victoria.
“We’ve always supported the players,” Ratten said.
“Our players are the most important thing at our footy club. We‘ve allowed Paddy to go home, and Tim and Seb went back and that’s fine by us.
“That’s their choice and their decision and it’s their family, and at our footy club family is first.
“But those boys are coming along (this time), and no one has said they won‘t, so that’s really pleasing.”
After a poor first half of the season, St Kilda has turned things around since their bye, with a run of three straight wins putting them only outside the top eight on percentage.
Following Fremantle‘s loss on Thursday night to Geelong, a win over the Power would put the Saints inside the top eight at the end of the round.
But Ratten remains coy about their finals prospects.
“We’re not looking at the finals, we are looking at the process and we’ve got probably the toughest draw of anybody,” Ratten said.
“We’ve got six games to go and five of them are against teams inside the eight, and also we just played Brisbane the week before, so we’ve got some real challenges for what we have to do, and it’s in our control for how we want to play the game,
“For us since the bye we‘ve focused on what we can control and sticking to the process and not going away from it because before the bye our form was very inconsistent.”
Ratten also confirmed injury-plagued midfielder Daniel Hannebery and veteran defender James Frawley “are pretty close” to featuring at senior level following their return in the VFL last week.
However, Ratten said both would need “two full games at VFL level” before being considered for selection.
Saints headed for Perth quarantine