As Brett Ratten continues to ponder St Kilda’s best ruck set-up, the coach has urged Rowan Marshall and Paddy Ryder to make the most of their opportunities against the Western Bulldogs.
Sunday’s clash at Marvel Stadium shapes as a key audition for the pair, with most clubs going with a lone ruckman with longer in-game breaks and shorter quarters this season.
“Do they play, both of them, each week? I don’t think so,” Ratten said on Saturday.
“It’s horses for courses and we’ll play with that throughout the year … I don’t think we’ll go in and say that it’s going to be Paddy and Rowan each week.
“It might just be Rowan and we’ll do something different.
“It will depend on how dominant they are in the middle, so when you get your chance to ruck, put your best foot forward and really give us first use.”
Sunday’s match pits two sides against each other who have had a long time to stew on disappointing season-opening losses.
The Saints led North Melbourne by 31 points before suffering a gut-wrenching two-point defeat, and the Dogs were widely criticised after they were brushed aside in a 52-point loss to Collingwood.
While that defeat was nearly three months ago, Ratten is confident the lessons learned will be fresh in his players’ minds.
“Maybe if we did win we might’ve wallpapered over some cracks, so it’s allowed us to reflect and get a bit pointier with some things,” he said.
“We’ve got to be accountable for that result, me included.
“It was a game that was in our hands and we let it slip … we had to address it to become a better team.
“There were some really good lessons, but whether that transfers into victory straight away? I don’t know, but what it does do is it helps us know what makes us a good team.”
St Kilda made three changes to that side, with Jake Carlisle, Nick Coffield and Nick Hind replacing Dean Kent, Dylan Roberton and Luke Dunstan.
For the Bulldogs, Easton Wood (quad) and Lachie Hunter (suspension) couldn’t be considered and Ben Cavarra, Lewis Young and Zaine Cordy were dropped.
Billy Gowers, Ed Richards, Laitham Vandermeer – who will debut – Lin Jong and Patrick Lipinski were added to the line-up.