Jack Bytel will make his long-awaited senior debut tomorrow night against Geelong after a year-long stint on the sidelines through injury.
Back surgery to repair a bulging disc benched the talented youngster for all of Season 2019 – and moved him to the long-term injury list as a result – but an injury-free run in the new year has seen him rekindle his form in St Kilda’s reserves.
Bytel will become the third Saint to make his debut in 2020 along with Max King (Round 1) and Ryan Byrnes (Round 7).
The 20-year-old has been a regular feature in the Saints’ practice matches, being named as an emergency for the first time in Round 9 against Sydney.
Bytel only played six matches for Cannons in his draft year – plus three for Vic Metro – before stress fractures in his back halted his run by late July.
The Calder Cannons co-captain was tipped to be a high draft selection prior to his debilitating injuries, instead slipping down the draft order to be taken at pick No. 41 in the 2018 National Draft.
An inside midfielder by trade, the 20-year-old is well-regarded for his ball-winning abilities, tackling and strength in the clinches.
Bytel becomes the 1617th player to represent the red, white and black at V/AFL level.