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In the Mix: Round 21

Michael Ryan  August 8, 2018 3:46 PM

Two young rucks jostle for position as the Saints look to upset the Bombers on Friday night. - St Kilda Saints,Essendon Bombers,In the Mix

Two young rucks jostle for position as the Saints look to upset the Bombers on Friday night.

The St Kilda selection committee has another tough task ahead of them, as the Saints look to recover from their disappointing loss against the Bulldogs.

Finals-chasing Essendon looms large under Friday night lights, and with Tom Hickey, Billy Longer and Josh Battle unavailable, the undersized Saints need an injection of height.

Rowan Marshall’s size and athleticism could see him claim the ruck spot, and his ability to rest as a key target up front will no doubt work in his favour.

Standing at 201cm, ‘The Prospect’ has played a variety of positions for the Saints this year, including taking on Sam Jacobs as the standalone ruckman in Round 3.

READ: Marshall's prospect looms large

Lewis Pierce has played just one senior game for St Kilda, but with both Tom Hickey and Billy Longer unavailable for the rest of the season, the 23-year-old could get another shot at the big-time.

At 202cm, the young ruckman is one of the most in-form big men in the VFL and has excelled under the tutelage of St Kilda ruck coach Adam Skrobalak at the Frankston Dolphins.

Veteran Sam Gilbert can pinch-hit in the ruck when required, and with over 200 games’ experience, Gilbert’s versatility could earn him a recall.

Ben Paton has shown plenty of promise for a first-year player, and his ability to play a variety of roles around the ground has the budding utility looming as a long-term prospect for the Saints.

Ed Phillips has played just seven games for the Saints in 2018, but his elite endurance could see a return to the seniors this week.

And finally, Bailey Rice has proven his worth as a hard-nosed defender since debuting in Round 9, and he’ll be hoping for another shot at senior footy before the year’s out.

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