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Opposition watch: Thumbs up for Saint's return after surgery

LAUNCESTON, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 28: Sam Gilbert of the Saints in action during the 2018 AFL round six match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the St Kilda Saints at UTAS Stadium on April 28, 2018 in Launceston, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

An injection of experience could be on offer for St Kilda's defence this week against Gold Coast, with Sam Gilbert declared available to return from right thumb surgery.

Gilbert, 31, had been on track to return after the Saints' round 14 bye, but that has been pushed forward, and the backman could return for Saturday's clash with Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.

Jake Carlisle will return from suspension, while Nathan Brown should be right to go after being concussed by an errant left elbow from Sydney defender Dane Rampe.

Whether Gilbert returns through the VFL or comes straight back into the senior side remains to be seen.

"Sam Gilbert is back this week. We'll await selection, but he's travelling very well with his hand," St Kilda head physiotherapist Andrew Wallis told saints.com.au.

The outlook is similarly bright for Brown.

"The docs are really happy with 'Browny' at this stage," Wallis said.

"He will go through the formal testing and obviously have to train on Thursday, but we're very positive."

Captain Jarryn Geary has done two running sessions after a left calf strain and is set to return after the bye.

St Kilda is thin down back, with Dylan Roberton out for the season with a heart issue.

Young gun Blake Acres went for his first run on Tuesday in his comeback from a groin injury that has seen him unavailable since round eight.

The Saints haven't won since round one, and will be desperate to snap their seven-match losing streak.