At a glance:
- Brett Ratten has heaped praise on Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall's "perfect game" against the first-placed Port Adelaide.
- The pair were among the Saints' best at Adelaide Oval, combining for 40 hit-outs and four goals.
- Ratten says the Saints will continue to experiment with the dual-ruck role, particularly with the club preparing to play its next four games in 16 days.
Brett Ratten has given new ruck duo Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall the thumbs up following their “perfect game” against the first-placed Port Adelaide on Saturday night.
The pair combined for a match-winning 40 hit-outs, 25 disposals (19 contested), eight clearances and four goals as the Saints stormed home to their second win at Adelaide Oval in five days.
“I thought on the weekend that was the best we had the combination,” Ratten told SEN.
“We got four goals from them and we got great use through Paddy’s hit-outs and then Ro’s follow-up at ground level – I think he had seven clearances himself – so I think the balance was absolutely perfect.
Saturday marked the fifth match together for Marshall and Ryder, after the latter found himself out of the senior side from Rounds 4 through 6.
While the deployment of the dual-ruck tactic and the possible impact on Marshall’s development have been put into question externally – especially following two standout matches in Ryder’s absence – Saturday’s blend confirmed how effective the pairing could be.
The former Power big man’s supreme tapwork gifted St Kilda’s midfielders perfect opportunities from the middle, seeing the Saints emerge +10 in clearances and +24 in hit-outs against seven-gamer Peter Ladhams.
Marshall’s mobility, meanwhile, came out on top around the ground, with the Portland product gathering six of his seven clearances at stoppages.
The runner-up in last year’s Trevor Barker Award also notched five inside-50s to go alongside his two-goal bag.
But as has been Ratten’s message all season long, the Saints won’t be taking a one-size-fits-all approach into future games, even off the back of Saturday’s success.
“Some weeks we might take one and how it works, we’ll play with it through the season,” Ratten said.
“I think the five-day and four-day breaks will maybe test Paddy a little bit about recovering, but we’ll try and look after him.”
St Kilda will play its next four games in the space of 16 days, with a four-day break in-between its Round 10 clash with Gold Coast (Thursday, 6 August) and Round 11 battle with Geelong (Monday, 10 August).
The Saints will first turn their attention towards Saturday’s match with Sydney at the Gabba, with the twilight fixture celebrating the fifth year of the Pride Game.