David Teague will join Richmond’s coaching ranks next season as an assistant to Damien Hardwick after being sacked by Carlton.
The role of ruckmen in modern-day AFL has often been downplayed but there is no denying how important St Kilda’s big men are to the Saints’ success.
Star ruckman Rowan Marshall returned to partner veteran Paddy Ryder on Friday night for the first time since Round 9, and reuniting the pair had an immediate impact as the Saints awoke from their 2021 slumber to stun reigning premiers Richmond by 40 points at the MCG.
Since Ryder arrived at St Kilda from Port Adelaide ahead of the 2020 season, the Saints’ record with both of them playing is now 12-6.
If Ryder and/or Marshall are missing from the team, St Kilda have won just five of 15 games.
St Kilda coach Brett Ratten is rapt Marshall was able to return from a foot injury and play so well straight away.
“They complement each other and they’re probably different types of ruckmen as well, which is always challenging for the other rucks,” Ratten said.
“It’s not just in the ruck, but the support it gives Max (King) in the front half and he really worked hard, Max, and kicked two goals.”
Despite the memorable win over Richmond, wiping away the memory of their 86-point thrashing to the Tigers in Round 5, the Saints sit 6-8 with a poor percentage.
Ratten is not getting ahead of himself and knows it will take something special for St Kilda to play finals for the second year in a row.
“We’re just looking at getting our process right. I was extremely pleased for a lot of people, this win,” Ratten said.
“Our performances haven’t been where we want them to be but the challenge is to maintain this.
“Whether it’s good enough to get into finals, I’m not sure, but there’s a lot of hard work to be done.”