Saints' Roberton in AFL selection battle

Shayne Hope
Dylan Roberton could face a battle to break back into the Saints squad

St Kilda coach Brett Ratten says Dylan Roberton faces a challenge to break back into the AFL club's best line-up as they attempt to lock down details of a reserves scratch match with Collingwood this week.

Roberton, who turns 29 on Sunday, made an emotional return to football in round one after almost two full seasons out of the game because of heart issues.

But the dashing 129-game defender was left out of the team for the season restart as the Saints registered a comfortable 39-point win over the Western Bulldogs on Sunday night.

"Dyl did some fantastic work to get himself into a position for round one," Ratten said.

"He probably just had some signs where he was just not quite to the level that he'd like to be and we'd like him to be, so he's gone away to work on a few things.

"He's been out of the game for a long time and he's got a little bit of a challenge at the moment, but I know that he'll be working really hard and we'll work with him."

With no VFL matches for fringe AFL players to press their cases this year, those on the periphery of their senior sides like Roberton face extra hurdles to selection.

St Kilda knocked back a chance to play a reserves scratch match against the Bulldogs last week but are hopeful of settling on details of what will effectively be a training run with Collingwood in the coming days.

It will likely be played ahead of the two clubs' AFL meeting, which takes place at the MCG on Saturday.

"That's the plan, but we're not sure where and how it's going to look at the moment," Ratten said.

"Hopefully the players that have missed out (in round two) will get a bit of a go and show what they can do."

St Kilda got through the Bulldogs clash without any fresh injury concerns and have no glaring reasons to change their line-up after a strong performance.