Saints' Roberton set for 2020 AFL return

St Kilda's Dylan Roberton is poised to return to AFL action next season after a long absence.
St Kilda's Dylan Roberton is poised to return to AFL action next season after a long absence.

Dylan Roberton expects to be available for St Kilda's opening AFL match next year after he missed almost two full season's due to a heart condition.

The 28-year-old has not played since round four of the 2018 season, when he collapsed during the game against Geelong.

The defender was taken to the hospital for precautionary tests and was later diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat.

Roberton, who has a permanent defibrillator installed in his chest and takes medication to moderate his heartbeat, is targeting a round one return for the Saints in 2020.

"I had my first session back with the group the other day but obviously been running the whole off-season so feeling really good," Roberton told Triple M.

He believes the health measures he has implemented should avoid any further issues.

"I headed overseas and just got some opinions from overseas and everyone's really confident that if I'm diligent with my medication and... regular checkups with the cardiologist that everything's gonna be fine," he said.

Roberton had enjoyed a career-best season in 2017, finishing second in the Saints' best-and-fairest award.

He attempted to return to the AFL this year but suffered another incident of heart irregularity in a pre-season game against the Western Bulldogs in Ballarat.

St Kilda commence their 2020 AFL campaign against North Melbourne on March 22 at Marvel Stadium.

Australian Associated Press