St Kilda coach Brett Ratten has explained how he plans to utilise ruck pair Rowan Marshall and Paddy Ryder in 2020.
The Saints saw promising big man Marshall take a giant stride in his development in 2019 despite not having adequate back-up but he will now receive support from veteran Ryder who joined from Port Adelaide in the trade period.
Regarding how the duo will be deployed, Ratten is looking at recent successful ruck mixes as the blueprint for his pairing.
“I see it really just as a combination between him (Ryder) and Marshall,” he said on SEN Breakfast.
“You look at (Nic) Naitanui and the combinations with (Scott) Lycett through their premiership (year in 2018). If it wasn’t Naitanui it was (Nathan) Vardy.
“The two ruckmen play a huge part and they influence games of football and give your midfield first access at the ball. Those combinations are so powerful in the game.”
Ratten insists that the presence of Ryder will certainly not take away from Marshall's game and will only provide the foil to help a fledgling ruckman flourish.
“With a young ruckman who has had a breakout season, which is great, he needs some support and I think Ryder is going to be fantastic,” he added.
“Whether Ryder starts in the ruck or Rowan starts in the ruck, it doesn’t matter to us. We think they’ll play roughly about the same game time in the ruck space.
“We think they can really influence games of footy, not just in the ruck, but also as a forward as well.
“As we know, when you’re a player, you play better against some players than others. So if we think history says Paddy has an advantage over another ruckman, we’ll start him as first ruck, but if Rowan’s got a great record then we’ll flip it around the other way.
“It gives us great flexibility.”
The Saints will get to test out their new-look colossal couple in the Marsh Community Cup against Hawthorn at RSEA Park (Moorabbin) on Thursday, February 20.
Listen to Ratten on SEN Breakfast below: