A return to winning ways and a cohesive team effort against West Coast leaves no obvious selection changes heading into Maddie’s Match on Thursday night.
But there are Saints still in the hunt for a senior berth all the same, and with a short turnaround this week adding to the selection equation, Brett Ratten will be keeping a close eye on the players waiting in the wings.
If there's one player itching for on-field action this weekend, it's Ben Long.
The hard-hitting defender has been named as St Kilda's medical sub for the past two weeks, and last week was unused as the Saints stormed home against the Eagles.
Fierce and unrelenting.— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) June 28, 2020
Ben Long came to play. pic.twitter.com/fJ5CIVMUXu
Long was superb when the Tigers and Saints met in Round 4 of last season, collecting 17 disposals, eight intercepts and seven tackles – including a brilliant run-down on Tom Lynch – to receive two Brownlow votes by season's end.
Should the 23-year-old be selected, Thursday night will mark his 50th game in red, white and black.
An additional intercepting defender could come in handy against Richmond, who chart fourth in the league for total inside-50s (229) from the opening month of the season.
Darragh Joyce has enjoyed an excellent run of form for Sandringham over the past month and shapes as a potential candidate if the Saints decide to reshuffle their defensive end.
The 23-year-old has utilised his aerial skills to cut off opposition entries, with his impact helping guide the Zebras to practice match wins over North Melbourne and Essendon.
Joyce was picked as an emergency for last Saturday’s bout with West Coast, marking the first time he’d entered selection calculations for the year.
Luke Dunstan is yet to break into the senior line-up in 2021, but could be called on to combat the Tigers’ Premiership midfield.
Similar to Dean Kent, the on-baller’s presence has been felt on the inside and across the forward half at VFL level, with a standout performance in limited game-time against North Melbourne arguably his most influential outing.
Dunstan was also impressive alongside Jack Bytel against Essendon’s VFL outfit, helping Sandringham’s midfield on top of the contest after the Bombers fought back in the second term.
The 26-year-old has played 104 matches for the club after debuting in 2014.
The Saints have plenty of tall timber in the shed ahead of Round 5, with Shaun McKernan, Mason Wood and Paul Hunter all available for selection.
Wood and McKernan were named as emergencies for last week’s match against West Coast alongside Ben Long (medical sub) and Darragh Joyce.
All-Australian ruckman Paddy Ryder will continue to build his fitness as he eyes a senior return in the coming weeks, while James Frawley and Ryan Byrnes are progressing well from their respective hamstring injuries.
Non-selected Saints will line up for Sandringham in Friday afternoon’s VFL season opener against Richmond at Punt Road Oval.