But with an electronic device now inserted in his chest that monitors and corrects heart beat abnormalities, Roberton can’t wait to return to competitive footy and aims to have a better season than 2017 when he made the All-Australian squad.
“I would’ve thought I would’ve thought about it more, but I was speaking to ‘Richo’ [coach Alan Richardson] about it the other day and he sort of asked me does it cross my mind so to be honest I haven’t really thought about it since it’s happened which is a good thing,” Roberton said at Moorabbin on Friday morning.
“There’s no worry from my end, I’m sure my family and stuff are a bit more worried than I am but as far as my mental state [is concerned], I’m ready to go.
“It’s all good. I’ve been doing everything since Christmas, so full contact and everything so that was the hurdle that was most going to test me out a bit but that’s been fine. Obviously not having any contact for six months, but two weeks of that now so I’m ready to go.
“They [doctors] still haven’t come down to it [the reason for the collapse] which is why they wanted to take all the precautions with the devices and all that sort of stuff so that was the main reasoning for that but they were happy enough with [the way I was] responding to medication.”
However, Roberton wasn’t sure if the device would remain in his body permanently.
“It was put in as a precaution … hopefully go well for a bit and see what happens,” he said.
“There are a few devices that work back to the doc, so they get all my info and if anything happens they give me a call but I haven’t had a call since it happened so obviously everything’s going well.”
Roberton’s long stint on the sidelines gave him a new appreciation of the game.
“I learned that I love footy and want to keep playing it and probably took it for granted a bit like everyone probably does, and you don’t realise that until you might have it taken away from you so I’m definitely looking forward to getting back out there,” he said.
Suffering such a serious medical incident is never desirable, but it came at a particular inopportune time in Roberton’s career as the former Docker had only just been named in the All-Australian squad the previous year.
The 27-year-old was keen to recapture the momentum he had generated in his career-best season.
“Just get back to the form the year before it all happened, that’s my aim and I know that’s what he [Richardson] wants from me,” he said.
“I don’t want to come in and find my way again, I want to come back and play better than I did that year.”
Roberton intends to have a full lead-in to the premiership season by participating in the Saints’ intraclub match on February 23 as well as practice matches against North Melbourne and Gold Coast.
St Kilda kick off their home-and-away campaign against the Suns on March 24.
Ronny Lerner is a Sports reporter for The Age.