At a glance:

  • Dan Butler says St Kilda's fast brand of football means they're well-placed to work around the new "standing the mark" rule.
  • The Saints will put their pre-season work to the test against Carlton in Thursday's AAMI Community Series opener.
  • Jade Gresham is set to face the Blues after sitting out last week's practice match with North Melbourne.

St Kilda small forward Dan Butler feels his team's fast brand of football means they are well-placed to exploit the new "standing the mark" rule introduced this AFL season.

Butler says the Saints have been training hard both offensively and defensively to adjust to the new rule, which prohibits the player on the mark from moving in any direction.

The premise behind it is to open up the game and allow faster ball movement, leading to higher scoring.

05:52 Mins
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'It's always good having new talent come in': Butler on the approach to 2021

Dan Butler spoke to the media this morning ahead of Thursday nights AAMI Community Series match against Carlton.

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"We think we can expose it offensively," said Butler, ahead of their Thursday night pre-season clash with Carlton at Marvel Stadium.

"Defensively, we've been working on ways we can get around that.

"It is very hard to defend but we've been trying different things, whether that's been dragging the man on the mark back a little bit so they can move laterally.

"I'm not too sure how that will work but we will see how we go."

Saints are looking to build on their sixth-placed finish in 2020 while Butler also wants to improve on a career-best season.

The club's leading goal-kicker in his first season since switching from Richmond, he was runner-up in the Trevor Barker Award and was named in the extended All-Australian squad but his performance left him hungry for more.

"It was probably my really first consistent year and I want to build on that," the 24-year-old said.

Obviously the gun small forwards of the competition have been doing it for years and I've probably only had one decent year so I want to build on that and really establish myself as a really good small forward.

- Dan Butler

Dan Hannebery is back in full training and while he won't face the Blues, Butler believed he would likely be available for their season opener against GWS.

Fellow star midfielder Jade Gresham, who hasn't played since last August when he suffered a season-ending back injury, will take on Carlton after sitting out the Saints' big win over North Melbourne.

"This will be his first full game since his back injury last year so all the boys are pretty excited to get him back up and running cause he's a gun," Butler said.