ST KILDA star Jack Steven will take another extended AFL break to manage his mental health, with the club unsure when he’ll return.
The 29-year-old also had time off in the pre-season to deal with a mental health issue but returned to play in the first two rounds of the season proper.
He was then rested for the Saints’ next two games before playing in their clashes with Melbourne and Adelaide.
Steven won his fourth club best and fairest award last season and had previously served in the club’s leadership group.
“The club and Jack have been working on managing his health and well-being over many months,” Saints football boss Simon Lethlean said on Thursday.
“The best option at present for Jack to fully overcome his challenges is to take an extended break away from football.
“We don’t have an exact time-frame on how long that will be but the club will continue to provide as much support as possible.
“We ask again that Jack be given the time and privacy to deal with this matter.”
Lance Franklin, Heath Grundy, Travis Cloke, Tom Boyd, and Alex Fasolo are among other players who have been granted leave in the past few years to deal with their mental health.
St Kilda has started strongly to win four of their first six games but have several key players sidelined.
Dylan Roberton (heart) is out for the season, Jake Carlisle (back) is a long- term casualty, Jack Lonie (knee) is out for 10 weeks and Paddy McCartin has concussion issues.
The Saints are also unsure when big-dollar recruit Dan Hannebery will be available to make his club debut amid ongoing leg problems.
St Kilda faces Greater Western Sydney at UNSW Canberra Oval on Saturday.
© AAP 2019