ROWAN Marshall is ready to go back to ruck school with the arrival of All Australian Paddy Ryder at St Kilda.
Marshall enjoyed a standout season, finishing second in the club best and fairest, and the Saints were keen to bring in another established ruckman to lighten the load on the 23-year-old emerging star.
Ryder, who was the All Australian ruckman two years ago, was the perfect candidate and the Saints recruited him from Port Adelaide.
Paddy Ryder adds experience to St Kilda's ruck department. Picture: AFL Photos
The ruck-forward is among five players to join the Saints in a busy trade period.
Marshall is also keen to learn as much as possible from Ryder and plug the gaps in his game.
"I'm stoked, over the moon. He was obviously an All Australian ruckman a couple of years ago and I'm pretty new to the ruck craft," Marshall said.
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"I'm really looking forward to learning from him and I think we can be a pretty good duo.
"He's a really superb tap ruckman (and) that's probably one weakness in my game I need to work on.
"At times against bigger ruckman I was found out a little bit in the ruck craft, but with Paddy here I will be able to improve on that and it can become one of my strengths."
Marshall said he was recruited originally as a forward and he is happy to go into attack when needed as he shares the ruck work with Ryder.
The Saints started pre-season this week and Marshall said their busy trade period had generated plenty of excitement at the club.
As well as Ryder and Port teammate Dougal Howard, the Saints also brought in Fremantle onballer Brad Hill, Sydney midfielder Zak Jones and Richmond forward Dan Butler.
Bradley Hill joined the Saints from Fremantle during the trade period. Picture: AFL Photos
"We've brought in five really good players who should play senior footy every week," Marshall said.
"I'm really excited for next year."
The Saints had a shocking run this year with injuries and other setbacks.
Paddy McCartin will sit out next season as he tries to overcome his ongoing concussion problems, but Dylan Roberton is ready to officially start pre-season as he returns from recurring heart issues.
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"Hopefully he (McCartin) has a year out, sorts it out and can come back," Marshall said.
"(Roberton) has been doing all the running and gym stuff. He should be right to go at the start of pre-season."