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Saints to serve up fresh Rice against Pies

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Bailey Rice has waited three years for his AFL debut - AFL,St Kilda Saints,Bailey Rice
Bailey Rice has waited three years for his AFL debut

YOUNG defender Bailey Rice will follow in his father's footsteps when he finally makes his St Kilda debut on Saturday against Collingwood.

MATCH PREVIEW: Can Saints stun the Pies?

Rice's dad, Dean, played the first 116 of his 234 AFL games for the Saints before crossing to Carlton, where he played in the Blues' 1995 premiership.

The 21-year-old joined St Kilda via the father-son rule at pick 49 in the 2015 AFL Draft and has since developed at VFL level.

Back-to-back strong performances for Sandringham, including 30 possessions last week, was enough to convince Saints coach Alan Richardson to promote Rice.

Richardson listed Rice's preparation and commitment to training, consistency in state league ranks, aggression in the contest and general toughness as reasons for his selection.

Rice re-signed at St Kilda in June last year until the end of 2019.

"We've had quite a few other players sign recently. It's a really exciting time to be at the club," Rice said at the time.

"Glandular fever hit me pretty hard in 2016, but my year so far has been pretty solid.

"I've played six or so games of some of my best footy and I just want to keep that up and put my hand up for the AFL team."

Midfielder Ed Phillips made an excellent debut for St Kilda in round eight, picking up 24 disposals and laying five tackles against Fremantle.