ST KILDA is bracing for the potential of being without wingman Bradley Hill for Saturday's date with Hawthorn as he fights an Achilles complaint.
But the Saints are set to boost their floundering centre bounce form and welcome back Paddy Ryder for his first game of the season after a dominant display in the VFL on Saturday.
The Saints will take no risks with the out-of-form Hill off the six-day break heading into the clash against his former club where he won three flags.
Hill was subbed out of Sunday's loss to Port Adelaide and finished the game with ice applied to his Achilles.
"He's just got a bit of Achilles awareness, he's just a bit tight there and he'll be a test for next week," coach Brett Ratten said following the 54-point defeat.
"Especially after (Jade) Gresham snapping his, we're not taking any risks with that's a nine-month injury."
Ryder will come straight back to partner Rowan Marshall in the ruck against the Hawks after the veteran returned to the club earlier this month following personal leave.
The 33-year-old had 18 disposals, 32 hitouts, five marks and kicked a goal for Sandringham and will address the Saints' bleeding from the centre square.
"Our centre bounces were a real strength of ours (last year) but last week we were minus 10 and this week we were minus 10," Ratten said.
"We're lacking a little bit of confidence to click and jell. That's probably hurting us a bit."
Midfielder Ryan Byrnes (25 disposals) is also expected to be in the frame after impressing in his second game back at VFL level from a pre-season hamstring setback.
Luke Dunstan amassed a whopping 46 disposals in the loss to Port Melbourne after being dropped from a midfield in round five that Ratten admitted lack leg power.
Half-forward Dean Kent booted two goals and could present as an option for his first game of the season, while Shaun McKernan kicked 2.2 from 14 disposals.
Jack Bytel, Mason Wood and Tom Highmore sat out of the VFL as AFL emergencies and will be in the selection conversation, while Jimmy Webster will be considered after missing with a groin injury.