St Kilda's Max King during the 2021 AAMI Community Series clash against Carlton. Picture: AFL Photos

BUOYED by a stirring win over Greater Western Sydney, St Kilda expects to be further boosted by the return of Max King and Zak Jones ahead of Saturday's clash against Melbourne at Marvel Stadium.

The Saints pulled off the gutsy victory at a wet and windy Giants Stadium despite being without nine first-choice players, including King, Jones, Rowan Marshall, Paddy Ryder, Dan Hannebery, Brad Crouch and co-captain Jarryn Geary.

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King (concussion, after being hit by a golf ball) and Jones (hamstring) will be the first to return, with Ratten expecting both to play against the Demons.


Ratten said other players will "trickle in" over the coming weeks, leaving the Saints with a strong squad to choose from and healthy competition for places.

"Our list is developing, and to think that we can call on many bodies to contribute and play their part, that's a credit to the players and to the footy club," said Ratten.

Ratten said the round one victory was built on an even contribution across the team, where most Saints players stood out for particular moments rather than overall performances.

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"Some players just had their moments in the game, like [Jack] Lonie kicks that goal that gives us a bit of hope, from the boundary line," he said.

"[Dan] Butler was serviceable, then has a moment when he kicks the winner.

"It looked like he chased him [Callan Ward] down, and whether it was a tackle or a bump, it's hard to say. Our focus had been to put them under pressure, and he did that and got his reward."


Both teams had chances to pull away in a fluctuating game, which will leave Giants coach Leon Cameron wondering what could have been.

But the effort and performance of ruckman Matt Flynn was a clear positive.

"I thought 'Flynny' was fantastic on debut. He picked up 18 possessions, and he hasn't even had that sort of ball at VFL level," Cameron said.

"To come in and play a role like that, and considering he hurt his ankle, was awesome."

Giants ruckman Matthew Flynn has his ankle treated during the loss to St Kilda in round one, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

Stephen Coniglio was another Giant to stand up in a tight contest, and was especially good early with 11 touches in the first quarter as the club captain looks to put a poor 2020 season behind him.

"Not a lot went right for us last year, and that's not his fault, it's our entire football club's fault. But I thought he responded in a really good way," Cameron said of his skipper.

"I thought it was a good, solid performance from him today.

"At times he will come up against some great mids, and test himself out, but equally I'd like to think that by the end of the year we're talking about Cogs as a very, very good mid as well."