St Kilda’s list depth is set to come into play as the red, white and black prepares for four games in the space of 16 days.
With experienced players Dan Hannebery and Jimmy Webster going down through injury late last week, the door has now opened for several Saints to stake their selection claims.
After a week on the sidelines through injury, Josh Battle is in the running to reclaim a spot in St Kilda's starting 22.
The swingman found himself on the Saints' casualties list after an accidental clash with Paddy Ryder last Monday night against Adelaide, suffering a minor fracture to his left cheek and a mild concussion.
Due to the five-day turnaround, Battle was ruled out of Saturday's clash with the Power, but is gunning to slot back into the line-up as the red, white and black hunt for a third consecutive win.
Battle first entered the senior side in 2020 for Maddie's Match in Round 4, averaging 14 disposals and five marks per game before going down through injury.
St Kilda could reunite its small forward fleet this weekend as Jack Lonie eyes off a return to the senior line-up.
The No. 13 kicked a goal in Friday’s practice match against a high-end Brisbane outfit, adding an experienced head to the green forward line.
Lonie, Dean Kent and Dan Butler kicked 24 goals and registered 61 tackles (39 inside-50) from the first seven matches of the year to statistically chart as one of the most potent small forward fleets in the competition.
Of those, Lonie registered five and levelled Butler's tackle count inside-50 (14).
Coming off his Round 7 debut, Ryan Byrnes remains in the selection frame ahead of the Saints’ fast-tracked four games.
The 19-year-old performed well against Brisbane, utilising both sides of his body in a clean, inside display in the wet.
Byrnes was selected as an emergency in Round 8, but did not travel with the squad that secured the club’s second win in five days at Adelaide Oval.
With the young Saint given his first taste of senior football last weekend and Dan Hannebery out of the side through injury, Byrnes could accelerate his return to the line-up in the coming weeks.
As the Saints prepare for its unprecedented run of games, Ed Phillips has the potential to step into the midfield group if needed.
The 22-year-old was named as an emergency in Round 4, and has pieced together several strong showings in the reserves to further his case for a call-up.
Phillips has spent more time playing inside throughout the club’s scratch matches, in part due to the lower numbers on the field.
It’s added another string to the wingman’s bow however, with the extra versatility holding him in good stead at the selection table.
If added grunt is what’s needed, Jonathon Marsh could be the Saint to deliver throughout in-between the tight turnarounds.
Marsh did not play in the club’s most recent practice match, instead being kept fresh as a traveling emergency for Round 8.
The ex-Magpie has played four games in the red, white and black this season, playing predominantly as a defensive forward with two goals to boot.
Marsh was also tried inside during last fortnight’s scratch match against Carlton, joining Phillips and Nicholas Hind in gaining extra midfield minutes.
Shane Savage and Round 8 traveling emergency Daniel McKenzie remain in the selection conversation after strong showings across half-back against the Lions.
Midfielder Jack Bytel continues to press for a senior debut after a sequence of solid performances in the Saints’ scratch matches, while Ryan Abbott has floated between ruck and forward duties in recent weeks.
Ben Long has one week left to serve on his suspension before he is eligible for senior selection against Gold Coast next Thursday.
Round 8 line-up
IN: Hind, Parker, Sinclair
OUT: Battle (injured), Byrnes, Lonie (omitted)
|B||Nick Coffield||Callum Wilkie||Jake Carlisle|
|HB||Bradley Hill||Dougal Howard||Sebastian Ross|
|C||Jarryn Geary||Hunter Clark||Jack Billings|
|HF||Dan Butler||Jade Gresham||Dean Kent|
|F||Matty Parker||Tim Membrey||Max King|
|R||Paddy Ryder||Jack Steele||Zak Jones|
|INT||Ben Paton||Jack Sinclair||Nicholas Hind|
|E||Daniel McKenzie||Jonathon Marsh||Jack Lonie|