ST KILDA ruckman Rowan Marshall has been given the green light to tackle Nic Naitanui and West Coast and play his first game back from a foot hotspot on Saturday.
But the injury news isn't as good for two veterans, with midfielder Dan Hannebery and co-captain Jarryn Geary suffering fresh setbacks this week.
Hannebery strained his 'good' calf at training on Tuesday, the opposite side to the calf that had heavily interrupted his pre-season and meant he hadn't returned to the main group since January.
"He's done everything right and he's now copped another little calf injury which will set him back for four weeks which is an issue," coach Brett Ratten said on Thursday.
Geary fractured his leg in a marking contest at training in January, and while he appeared on track for a return within a fortnight, further pain discovered another setback that requires surgery.
"And then Gears has got some pain in his ankle, not from his broken leg, but from his ankle, he's got a bone spur in there. He's going to go in for an operation tomorrow and that's going to push his return out another six weeks which is not ideal," Ratten said.
Marshall will take on the Eagles at Marvel Stadium on Saturday, with Ratten still to decide the make-up of the rest of his ruck division.
The 25-year-old, who played a little over a half in a VFL hitout last week, isn't expected to have his game time capped.
Jake Carlisle and Shaun McKernan are both in the mix as Marshall's back-up, however mature-age rookie Paul Hunter appears unlikely to be selected after completing extra running post-training in lieu of no VFL practice match this weekend.
Hunter was joined in a group that included fringe Saints Tom Highmore and Dean Kent.
Ratten called on his playing group to respond after an intense week of soul searching following last week's drubbing at the hands of Essendon.
"You can deal with losing games of footy, it's just the way you go about it and that was just the thing that sat so poorly with everybody. We cannot allow that to happen again," he said.
"The game starts with the contest and effort and if you can't give that, you can have a sexy game plan, they're secondary. The game is about winning the ball and putting pressure on the man and we didn't do either."
Meantime, Ratten said Paddy Ryder would be nursed through the next fortnight of training after spending a month away from the club.
"He's got to do a little bit more work the good part is, he came in with a big smile," Ratten said.
"That's the real pleasing part for us, to see a happy Paddy and him being back at the footy club and he enjoys being here. We can't rush that (return) because he's had a hamstring (last year), we've got to mindful of where he's at.
"It might be two, it might be three, it might be four (weeks until he returns). We've just got to see how he responds."