The Age reports a meeting was held between senior players including captain Nick Riewoldt and Jason Blake, along with Milne, met club directors on Thursday to express their fears for the 33-year-old’s playing future.

Milne was put on indefinite leave when he was charged on Tuesday with four counts of rape dating back to 20XX ahead of his first court appearance on July 5.

St Kilda president Greg Westaway told Fairfax Media: “We had enough regard for the players to make sure they fully understood the process that we went through in reaching the decision that we did.”

He added that Milne’s return to the field was “a matter for the coach and for Stephen’s welfare”.

The AFL is keeping a close eye on how St Kilda handles the situation and supported the club’s move to stand Milne down.

However, The Age reports he could be back playing by round 15, which follows the AFL’s Women’s Round.

Milne has put out a statement through his manager Tom Petroro:

“Stephen is taking the legal matter very seriously and has engaged lawyers to represent him to contest the charges. Like every citizen, he is entitled to the presumption of innocence. It is requested that the privacy of Stephen, his wife and his family be respected during this time.”

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