RICHMOND will hand ruck-forward Samson Ryan an AFL debut under the MCG's bright lights on Friday as it welcomes back premiership midfielder Dion Prestia from a hamstring injury against St Kilda.

But fellow flag stars David Astbury (Achilles) and Tom Lynch (knee) are still at least another week away, while out-of-form small forward Daniel Rioli has been dropped from the team that lost to West Coast in Perth before the bye.

Ryan, a 206cm prospect, will line up alongside fellow inexperienced talls Mabior Chol and Callum Coleman-Jones in what coach Damien Hardwick sees as a glimpse of the Tigers' future.

01:40 Mins
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VFL Showreel, R6: Tall Tiger Samson Ryan finds four

Richmond's first pick in the 2020 NAB AFL Draft showed off his exciting potential with a brilliant output of four goals

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A 20-year-old Queenslander, Ryan was Richmond's first pick (No.40 overall) at last year's NAB AFL Draft.

"We thought he was a project player but his ability and drive to learn has been really important," Hardwick said.

"His game at VFL level last weekend was very, very good.

"He's tough in the contest for a guy of his size, he uses the ball at ground level very well, so we're really excited about what he's going to bring."

Hardwick acknowledged St Kilda presents a different challenge with Rowan Marshall back from injury this week to rekindle his ruck partnership with veteran Paddy Ryder against Chol and Ryan.

Both Saints ruckmen were unavailable when Richmond smashed Brett Ratten's side by 86 points in round five.

St Kilda lost a semi-final to the Tigers last season and has come under fire after slipping out of finals contention this year with four losses in its past five outings.

"They've been bashed around a little bit in the media but we know they, at their best, can be very damaging," Hardwick said.

"We've got to be aware of how that looks.

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"They've changed the way they play a little bit from last time we met them; they move the ball a little bit more round-the-world type of movement.

"But we know they're a dangerous side when they're firing on all cylinders."

A crowd of up to 25,000 will be allowed at the MCG after the Victorian government eased COVID-19 restrictions.

It will be the first crowd at a sporting event in Melbourne since May 23.