Saints slaughtered but Ryder set to return

Paddy Ryder looks set to return to the AFL next week. Picture: Saints.com.au

St Kilda was put to the sword against a merciless Port Adelaide in the final match of the ANZAC day round. 

The loss sees the Saints slip to two wins and four losses, leaving them languishing towards the bottom of the AFL ladder. 

The game started with a bang as former Richmond player Jack Higgins kicked a miracle goal from the pocket but it would be their only goal for the quarter, despite entering their forward 50 over double the amount of times that Port Adelaide did. 

The second quarter was a different story, though, as the Power put their foot down and controlled the football through patient and precise play. 

It is not all doom and gloom for Saints fans, as a key member of the squad looks set to return to take on the Hawks next week at Marvel Stadium. 

Paddy Ryder made his return to senior football this weekend with VFL side Sandringham and despite the loss to Port Melbourne, he certainly showed plenty of promise, so much so that Brett Ratten is looking to include him in next week’s starting 22.

“Everything going to plan he will (play), he played pretty well yesterday” Ratten said.

“When we put Marshall forward he looked a real threat but you cant have him in two spots.

“To have Paddy back will allow us to do things with Rowe and then Paddy can go forward and mark it.

“Yesterday he marked it really well and it was pretty slippery in the second half as well.

“Dunstan found a lot of the ball and it’s a good response going back into the reserves and doing that so his name will be talked about as well.”

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Ryder had 33 hit-outs in his return and managed to kick a goal but it was his teammate Luke Dunstan that stole the show, amassing 46 touches. 

With the Saints smashed in both the clearance and disposal departments against Port, the inclusion of a former All-Australian ruckman would be a welcome sight for St Kilda supporters who would no doubt be disappointed in how their side has started the 2021 campaign. 

Many touted the Saints to finish in a top six position but if they want to play finals at all, a win against the Hawks next week is an absolute necessity, if not for premiership points then for confidence sake alone, something which Ratten admits is lacking at the moment.

The Saints may be without experienced wingman Brad Hill after the three-time premiership player was seen with ice on his ankle in the last quarter.

Ratten says they will monitor him and hopes he will be fit to take on former side Hawthorn next Saturday.

“He’s got a bit of achilles awareness, he’s just a bit tight there,” Ratten said.

“He will be a test for next week and especially with Gresham snapping his, we aren’t taking any risks with that.”

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