At a glance:
- Ruckmen Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall are ready to take it to Collingwood's Brodie Grundy.
- The pair were exemplary against the Bulldogs last Sunday, winning the hit-outs 49-12.
- Assistant coach and Premiership ruckman Brendon Lade says the ruck pairing could topple the Collingwood colossus.
Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall are shaping up to be the Saints’ most lethal pairing.
A rucking masterclass last Sunday against the Bulldogs was massive in steering the Saints to its first win of 2020, with the red, white and black dominating the centre thanks largely to the duo.
Now, assistant coach and Premiership ruckman Brendon Lade is hoping for “a bit of the same” when the pair come up against one of the premier rucks in the competition, Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy.
“He’s a more difficult ruckman, more experienced compared to Rowan, and is probably in the top-two ruckman in the comp at the moment,” Lade told saints.com.au.
“It’ll be quite a good duel, a really good challenge for Paddy and Rowan and will probably go a long way in determining the game.”
Last time the Saints came up against the dual-All Australian, Marshall was flying solo.
The Prospect held his own for the first three quarters against the prodigious talent, before Grundy put his foot down in the final term to finish with 49 hit-outs and 24 touches.
"It was a good lesson in what superstars can do,” Marshall said at the time.
Now, one year on and with an All Australian ruckman on his side in Ryder, the added support and two-pronged attack might be enough to bring the Collingwood giant down.
“It’s good working with Paddy,” Marshall told saints.com.au following last week’s triumph.
“That 50/50 time is really good because you can go in there with spurts of energy and try and work the other ruckman over.
The sentiment was echoed by Lade, who has been formative in Marshall’s rapid rise up the ranks.
“Paddy’s really athletic for someone his age and he helps Rowan,” Lade said.
“He’s just a different ruckman compared to him, and I think that helps not having the same type of ruckman go at a Grundy or a Gawn for long periods.
“Having something different thrown at him is what makes it hard to beat.”
The combined force stood tall last Sunday against the Bulldogs, with the pair winning the hit-out count 49-12.
Ryder’s tap-work in particular was a glittering highlight in a night full of positives, winning 15 hit-outs to advantage.
“Tim English is obviously a young ruckman, but Paddy showed why we got him here,” Lade said.
“To be able to have 15 hit-outs to advantage and give our midfielders first use at the ball a number of times was why we got him here, and Rowan did what he does – just competed hard and worked hard around the ground, so it was a good mix.”
Ryder and Marshall will look to topple Grundy and his Magpies in Round 3, with St Kilda and Collingwood going head-to-head at the MCG this Saturday at 4.35pm.