On Thursday night, Mitch Owens stood in the centre circle and looked up – and up and up – to meet the eye of his ruck opponent.

The 191cm young St Kilda forward is accustomed to stints in the ruck when Rowan Marshall needs a break, and quite enjoys the freedom it brings.

But all 211cm of Mason Cox is a slightly different prospect.

"I didn't mind it, actually. I saw big 'Coxy' in there, but surprisingly, I thought I did all right. I thought I'd lose every single one," Owens told AFL.com.au.

"I'm not sure if I won a hitout (he didn't), but as long as he wasn't grabbing it out, I was happy.

"There's no point jumping over him, so I just tried to get body work on him early. He's so tall, so I tried to go a bit low, and I got a high free kick at one stage, so a few tactics there.

"As a forward, it can be hard, you might not see the ball for a while, and you're not involved. When you go in the ruck, you're around the ball and a little stint there is good to get your confidence up."

Owens may not have recorded a hitout, but his mobility around the ground while playing in the ruck was crucial to the Saints' important 15-point win over the Pies, particularly in the third term as his side piled on five goals.

He was sharp with his ball-use around the ground and a calming presence whenever he had the footy, finishing the game with 22 disposals, five marks and two clearances.

The 20-year-old only kicked one behind, but had a game-high nine score involvements.

Mitch Owens fends of Nick Daicos. Photo: AFL Photos.

"It was a great win. To have so many Saints fans come down on a Thursday night – it was a great game and a great crowd," Owens said.

"We had a big focus on bringing the pressure, coming forward at them and just attack to the last line of them. I think we really put them under pressure with our defence and ball-movement.

"I was a little bit nervous when they came back (in the last quarter), but I think it's pretty normal after seeing them come back in so many games last season.

I definitely knew they were capable of it, but we had a good system and we've done a lot of work behind the scenes of when a game gets close, so we knew we were prepared for it.

- Mitch Owens

Owens, now in his third AFL season, is one of a number of relatively fresh faces rejuvenating St Kilda, along with Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, recruit Liam Henry, Cooper Sharman, Liam Stocker, Darcy Wilson and Marcus Windhager.

"I focused on a bit of everything over summer. Fitness, strength, I worked really hard on my contest and marking, and just keep working on my goalkicking and general kicking," Owens said.

"The standard's definitely gone up, everyone wants to get better everyday. I think everyone's more connected and on the same page, too."