St Kilda’s midfield is set for a boost ahead of its Anzac Day fixture against Port Adelaide, with senior coach Brett Ratten confirming that Rowan Marshall and Zak Jones will make the trip interstate.
The pair were late omissions from last Thursday’s match against Richmond, which ended in an 86-point defeat at the hands of the reigning Premiers.
“That’ll give our midfield a bit of confidence, to have one in the contest, in the air, and one at ground level,” Ratten said.
“We are going to get some soldiers back, and quality soldiers too.
"Marshall's fine. If that (Round 5) game was an extra two days, if it was a seven-day (break), he would've played against Richmond. Jones would've played as well, it was just too risky and he was too sore."
Ratten confirmed that veteran ruckman Paddy Ryder would not face his former side on Sunday, with the All-Australian ruckman to make his return via the VFL this weekend.
Ryder, who took personal leave at beginning of the season, has been working on his fitness since returning to Victoria earlier in the month.
All going well, the 33-year-old will be in contention to play against Hawthorn in Round 7.
St Kilda will look to hit its straps well before Ryder’s comeback however, with three unacceptable losses – the most recent in excess of 80 points – coming from the opening stages of its 2021 campaign.
Following their Anzac Day match at Adelaide Oval, the Saints will face Hawthorn (Marvel Stadium) and Gold Coast (Metricon Stadium), before a pair of prime-time blockbusters against Geelong and the Western Bulldogs in Rounds 9 and 10.
While the roadmap has been laid out for the next month, bouncing back from last week’s performance against the Tigers is front of mind.
“We haven’t wiped it clean,” Ratten said about last Thursday’s match.
“We’ve got to address things that aren’t happening. The season is a long season, and it’s about momentum.
“Sometimes you’re up and down through a year. You look back last year at times, and we had a month where we were a little bit inconsistent in spots, and that’s about making sure we are consistent in all aspects of the game.”
“When you watch the first defensive 50 stoppage (on the weekend), hopefully you’ll see a team that is pretty committed to saving the goal, but also working for each other as well.
“That hopefully is a reflection on how we are going.”