Saints’ Roberton steps away from AFL

St Kilda defender Dylan Roberton has taken time away from football as he contemplates his AFL career.

Roberton, 29, has played just one AFL game since he collapsed on the GMHBA Stadium field due to a heart condition in round four of the 2018 season.

The defender suffered another incident of heart irregularity during a 2019 pre-season game in Ballarat and sat out that entire campaign.

He returned in round one last year but didn’t feature again at AFL level after the season restart.

In a statement, St Kilda requested privacy for Roberton and confirmed he would consult with his specialists and the club’s medical team as he assessed “all available options” in the coming weeks.

“He’s clearly had some challenges over the last few years and he’s got a great family, three kids, so I think he’s just taking some time at the moment,” teammate Jack Billings told reporters on Wednesday.

“He’s a good mate of mine and the boys love him so he’s just going through that at the moment and the club and all the players are fully behind him.

“Obviously I’ve got a personal relationship with him so I’ve been chatting to him a little bit.

“He’s just working things out with his family, seeing where things are at and making sure he’s going to make the best decisions going forward.”

Roberton has 129 AFL games to his name, playing 37 for Fremantle before joining the Saints at the end of 2012.

He became a key figure in St Kilda’s defence and made the 40-man All-Australian squad in 2017.

“He’s had some really challenging times the last couple of years, missing a lot of footy,” Billings said.

“The way he fought back 12 months ago now, it was amazing and really inspiring for everyone at the footy club, especially all his teammates.

“It gave us a massive lift…

“He’s a quality player and fingers crossed for him, that’s all you can hope.”

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