THE REDUCTION in quarter lengths has forced St Kilda to reconsider how often it uses its double ruck act for the remainder of 2020.
After recruiting Paddy Ryder last October, the Saints had planned to pair the All-Australian with emerging ruckman Rowan Marshall for a 50-50 split between ruck and attack just as they did in round one.
However, with quarters being slashed by 20 per cent, the Saints acknowledge they will need to be more strategic with their ruck make-up.
"I think we'll need to be flexible with the combination," coach Brett Ratten told Fox Footy.
"Rowan's ability to stay in the ruck and ruck all day, and now with the game reduced, it might mean for some games we just take the one ruckman into the game and use somebody smaller to just be a support act.
"That's something we've thought about.
FIXTURE REVEAL New timeslot, primetime crackers, double-headers
"Ryder's ability to get his hands on the ball and give us first use around centre bounce is still going to be critical.
"We got Paddy in there to give Rowan some support, being 24 we didn't want to make him ruck every game by himself all year.
"It's something about the longevity about his career as well and that's why we got Paddy into the club to make sure that we can make him (Rowan) through and so he is a 12-13-year player for our football club."
Before Ryder's arrival on a two-year deal, Marshall spent 2019 as the Saints' sole No.1 big man with chop-outs from the now departed Josh Bruce. Max King (202cm) and Tim Membrey (190cm) were the other tall targets used in the season-opener.
Given quarters will drop from 30-32 minutes to 24-26 minutes this season, the need for the No.1 ruckman to rest will be diminished and is tipped to force a re-think competition-wide.
Ratten highlighted the match-winning efforts of North Melbourne's Todd Goldstein against the Saints in round one in a game he played 98 per cent game time.
West Coast – a club Ratten pointed to as a ruck yardstick in pre-season – admitted on Friday it would look closely at who it would use at Nic Naitanui's back-up given the quarter sizes.
Ryder continues to be managed at RSEA Park and sat out Wednesday's training before taking part in match simulation on Friday.
Jade Gresham (knee) is being worked back to full training and is expected to be fit for round two alongside Ben Long (ankle).