While last Friday afternoon's VFL game against Casey did present an opportunity for players to push for a senior birth, how much weighting the scratch match carries into the selection debate remains to be seen.
Prior to this, Sandringham had a bye – meaning it’s been over a fortnight since the Zebras’ played a game for points.
RELATED: VFL mid-season reviewDespite this unusual backdrop to what looms as an intriguing week at the selection table, the fact David Armitage was able to get a game under his belt last Friday, albeit against a weakened Casey Scorpions outfit, bodes well for his likely return this Saturday.
Armitage hasn’t played AFL football since he cut his knee on Patrick Dangerfield’s boot in round four, an injury that was believed to be nothing more than a heavy scratch but ultimately induced an infection and forced the strong-bodied midfielder back into hospital for a week.
If passed fit, the 96-gamer will add considerable grunt and a touch of polish to St Kilda’s engine room.
Last year Armitage averaged 5.5 tackles and 22 disposals per outing, and his numbers this campaign have been similar.
ARTICLE: David Armitage 2013 reviewFollowing Friday night’s 86-point loss to Collingwood, Alan Richardson signaled his intention to blood more youngsters in the coming weeks as team’s rebuild continues to take shape.
“There are going to be some real opportunities and that is the space we are in,” the first-year coach said.
“We need to get games into our young players.
“It will be a fantastic opportunity to start and build careers that aren’t in the team at the moment.”
ARTICLE: Plenty to play forOne of these players on the outskirt of the senior side is Tom Lee, who booted three first-half goals in the VFL practice match last Friday and impressed with his work-rate and selflessness.
If Richardson elects to mix up the forward-line structure, then Tom Lee, Beau Maister and Sam Dunell may also to come into consideration.
RELATED: Lee earns his stripes for Zebras
Although he doesn’t possess the sheer size of Lee or Maister, he’s slightly more flexible in that he is capable of presenting a marking option further afield and generally roams across half-forward.
From a defensive perspective, Tom Simpkin continues to push for a senior recall. The 23-year-old tough-nut has played just one AFL match this year, and it was one he’d rather forget – St Kilda’s round seven defeat to Hawthorn.
“Tommy played well in the VFL and he’s a chance to come in if we needed to [bring another defender in],” Richardson said.
Skilful half-back Jimmy Webster and ex-Hawk Shane Savage may also come into consideration, while Maverick Weller (concussion) and Luke Delaney (hip) will face fitness tests but are expected to be fit to play.
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