ST KILDA ruckman Paddy Ryder will miss the start to the season after being granted personal leave away from the club.

Ryder will be absent from the opening rounds to spend time with his family and elders in his community.

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It comes after Rowan Marshall was ruled out for the start of the season with a hotspot in his foot.

With both missing the Saints are expected to hand an AFL debut to rookie signing Paul Hunter and a club debut to former Bomber and Crow Shaun McKernan.

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"Family and community are a huge part of the culture and connection that we are building at the club," Saints chief operating officer Simon Lethlean said.

"When Paddy said he needed to take some time off for his health and well-being and reconnect with his family and culture, he had our full support to do so."

"2020 was difficult for many families, with border closures and restrictions impacting everyone differently.

"We look forward to Paddy returning after some time way, energised to attack the 2021 season and ready to contribute strongly to our on-field endeavours."

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Midfielder Dan Hannebery (calf), defender James Frawley (hamstring), co-captain Jarryn Geary (fractured leg) and recruit Brad Crouch (two-week suspension) will also miss the start to the year.

Speedster Zak Jones (hamstring) is racing the clock after another soft tissue setback.