St Kilda captain Hannah Priest says the player group are continuing to support Georgia Patrikios, but they are no closer to learning whether the star midfielder will opt for the vaccine in time to play this AFLW season.
Patrikios revealed in late November that she was vaccine-hesitant and yet to make up her mind about whether to receive the COVID-19 jab.
The two-time best-and-fairest winner is still on the club's active list but seems unlikely to play this year barring a prompt decision to receive the vaccine.
Priest still doesn't know what Patrikios' decision will be.
"Ultimately Georgia is a St Kilda player and whether she trains or plays is her decision," Priest said.
"We as a club are sticking by the AFL's protocols, which is going to protect us and the community.
"As much as we can, we're supporting Georgia and we're really proud of what she's done for our club and how she's contributed.
"She's an exceptional player. We're supporting her and, again, it's her decision."
St Kilda's midfield stocks took another battering in November when emerging star Tyanna Smith suffered a season-ending ACL injury to her left knee at training.
With Smith out and Patrikios unlikely to play in 2022, Priest says it's a big opportunity for others to step up.
"We've got a huge opportunity to boost our midfield," she said.
"We had Olivia Vesely out last year with a calf injury, and Rosie Dillon as well, and they're exceptional players," Priest said.
"They're really strong inside mid players. We've got a new-look midfield, but it's something we're really excited about because they're such strong players.
"We're really looking forward to seeing Rosie and Liv back, and a few other players that have had their time in the midfield as well, such as Tarni White, who has trained exceptionally well this pre-season."
St Kilda's season kicks off on Friday night against Richmond at Skybus Stadium.
Australian Associated Press
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