After a sobering loss to flag-favourite Collingwood last Saturday, no Saint’s spot is guaranteed heading into Round 4.
With the Tigers next in line and a host of Saints pressing their cases for a senior recall in last week’s scratch match, Brett Ratten and his team face a tough task at the selection table.
After an injury-ravaged 2019, the last place Jarryn Geary wanted to be was on the sidelines again.
But following a minor hamstring strain incurred last fortnight against the Western Bulldogs, the skipper is primed and ready to return against the reigning Premiers.
Geary was deployed in the forward-line in Round 2, and while the stats sheet only showed three disposals, his tagging role on Jason Johannisen was pivotal in dismantling the Dogs’ drive out of defence.
With that weapon in his arsenal, the 32-year-old could curb the influence of All Australian Bachar Houli, or move back into familiar territory to shut down one of Richmond’s dynamic small forwards.
No matter where he plays, Geary’s leadership will be critical if the Saints are to secure their second win of the season.
With the Saints carrying a young backline for the past fortnight, the return of Jimmy Webster could add some stability to the defensive end.
The rebounding defender was close to best-on-ground in last week’s practice match against the Magpies as he racked up possessions with his characteristic high efficiency.
Webster looked sharp despite his lengthy lay-off, with his last senior game dating all the way back to May last year.
Webster’s accurate use and dash off the half-back line could serve as a pivotal inclusion to get the Saints over the line.
Dean Kent was ruled out of Round 2 through illness, but the 26-year-old is intent on reclaiming his spot in St Kilda’s starting 22.
The ex-Demon impressed in last week’s scratch match, piecing together a game-winning display to see the Saints come out on top.
Kent booted a vital final-quarter major and palmed off several others throughout the game, all while bringing plenty of forward pressure and pace.
Kent’s aggressive play and active score involvements could have proven handy in the past, and could be just that this week.
St Kilda will be looking for more inside grunt against Richmond, and Luke Dunstan is the Saint to provide that.
Dunstan was omitted for Round 2, but after a commendable outing in last week's practice match, could be recalled to combat the Tigers' ferocity.
The hard-nosed Saint was a standout in last year's midfield brigade, topping his side's count for clearances and charting in the top-three for tackles and contested possessions.
While the midfield fabric has changed significantly from last year, this week could see Brett Ratten make room for some of Dunstan's inside work.
If clean use from the back-half is what's required, Josh Battle is the man to deliver.
The St Kilda swingman has been on the precipice of senior selection for every game this season, and was a carryover emergency in last week's clash against the Magpies.
Battle gives the ultimate flexibility to act as either a conduit forward or a resolute defender, which could be pivotal in pinching the points against the reigning Premiers.
A strong showing from Ed Phillips in last Saturday’s scratch match against Collingwood has thrust his name into the selection conversation.
The endurance machine joins fellow midfielder Jack Sinclair in making a possible return.
The defensive end could also be in line for a shake-up, with Nathan Brown, Shane Savage, Logan Austin and Dylan Roberton all rock solid against the Collingwood reserves.
Daniel McKenzie could float between defence and midfield after a sound performance on Magpie Adam Treloar, while Matty Parker’s attack on the ball could come in handy against the Tigers.
Round 3 line-up
OUT: Geary (injured)
|B||Jake Carlisle||Dougal Howard||Ben Paton|
|HB||Callum Wilkie||Hunter Clark||Ben Long|
|C||Jack Billings||Jade Gresham||Bradley Hill|
|HF||Jack Lonie||Dan Hannebery||Dan Butler|
|F||Tim Membrey||Rowan Marshall||Jonathon Marsh|
|R||Paddy Ryder||Zak Jones||Jack Steele|
|INT||Nick Coffield||Sebastian Ross||Nicholas Hind|
|E||Josh Battle||Jack Sinclair||Daniel McKenzie|