Jake Carlisle could miss a chunk of the season if he has back surgery. Picture: Michael Klein
Jake Carlisle could miss a chunk of the season if he has back surgery. Picture: Michael Klein

Injury blow as Saints star ruled out

ST Kilda defender Jake Carlisle requires surgery on his back and will be out of action for "several months".

The club confirmed the massive injury blow on Wednesday morning, after the 27-year-old met with a specialist a day earlier.

"When he's playing well, we know Jake is one of the best defenders in the game, so it's obviously disappointing not to have him available," St Kilda general manager Simon Lethlean said.

"Given he hasn't been able to train with any intensity since Christmas we were able to prepare for the start of the season knowing he would likely be missing, but unfortunately he will now miss a considerable amount of football."

A significant time on the sidelines would have serious implications for the defender's games-based contract trigger for 2020.

Carlisle signed a four-year contract when he crossed from Essendon in 2016 and the deal contained a games-based trigger for a fifth season.

His 2016 season was unexpectedly wiped out by the Court of Arbitration for Sport drugs ban for Essendon players, and now he is facing another lengthy spell out of the game.

Carlisle has been suffering with a disc problem and the club believed surgery would be the most likely option.

Back surgery is likely for Saints defender Jake Carlisle. Picture: AAP
Back surgery is likely for Saints defender Jake Carlisle. Picture: AAP

Carlisle's disc problem has not improved since Christmas.

His manager, Anthony McConville said on Monday he was hopeful his client could dodge surgery.

"He doesn't know the full extent at this stage," McConville said.

"He hasn't had surgery or seen the specialist so until that occurs we don't know what the time frames are.

"At this point in time he is a required player and I suppose we will have those (contract) conversations once we know more details."

Coach Alan Richardson said in 2016 he hoped Carlisle's career might be extended by the 12-month forced absence due to the drugs ban.

"Given the journey we are on, we've now got this bloke for one year longer on the back-end," Richardson said.

St Kilda is currently negotiating contracts for a number of their most exciting prospects, including prime movers Jack Billings and Jade Gresham.

The club believes it is moving in the right direction with both players.

Captain Jarryn Geary will become a free agent at the end of the season, but manager Anthony McConville said he had a games-based clause in his contract that could hand him another season.

He would automatically receive a deal for 2020 if he makes it through the season uninjured.

The Saints were criticised in some quarters for singing the club theme song after a relatively meaningless JLT Series win over the Roos on Saturday.

But Richardson and club consultant Graeme Allan were of the view it was well deserved after a tough week involving negative publicity surrounding Carlisle's back issues and uncertainty over Jack Steven's return.

News Corp Australia


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