Dan Hannebery has provided a brutally honest assessment of his AFL situation as he seeks a move from Sydney to St Kilda – and Saints fans might want to worry.
The 27-year-old has requested a trade to the Victorian club on the back of what most experts considered his worst season since his debut year.
Hannebery is contracted to the Swans until the end of the 2021 season and has been offered two more years on top of that deal by St Kilda.
However, the clubs are likely to be at odds over the midfielder’s trade value given his desire to go home, his form and fitness woes and his contract.
The mooted trade has been received poorly by the AFL community, with many highlighting Hannebery’s decline from averaging 30 disposals per game in 2016 to fewer than 20 this season as a concern.
In a quote to worry Saints fans, the player himself decided against platitudes.
“At the end of the day, there’s no guarantees I’ll get back to my best form,” he told AFL trade radio.
“They (Sydney) are doing what most smart and successful clubs do.”
Hannebery said he and St Kilda will need to look after his body if he is to see out five more years in the AFL.
“The last few weeks I was running better than before the 2016 grand final,” he said.
“I’m more than confident with the right treatment, I’ll be fine and hopefully playing for as long as the contract goes.”
Saints coach Alan Richardson has already met with Hannebery and acknowledges the risk in their play to break what has become a long finals drought.
“He is (confident of recapturing his best form) and probably more importantly we are,” Richardson told Fox Footy’s AFL 360 this week.
“We think that he’s got a lot of really good footy left in him and has the potential to add a lot of value to our team.
“I reckon there’s risk with every player but … with the amount of work that our medical guys have done and will do … that gives us enormous confidence.”
Meanwhile, Richardson quashed speculation that injury-plagued forward Paddy McCartin would be used as a bargaining chip.
Rumours the former No.1 draft pick could be on the way out at Moorabbin have swirled since Hannebery’s trade request went public.
McCartin, beset by concussion issues and indifferent form, has managed just 35 games in four seasons since the Saints made him the top overall pick at the 2014 draft.
His brother Tom recently signed a long-term contract extension with Sydney but Richardson was unequivocal when asked if McCartin was on the trade block.
“No, he won’t be (traded) … Paddy’s very important to what we’re doing,” Richardson said.
“I’ve heard (the rumours) too, but Paddy’s staying with us … absolutely. (He’s) contracted, we want him and he wants to be with us. He’s really important to what we’re doing.”