ST KILDA coach Brett Ratten will miss this Saturday's clash against Gold Coast at Marvel Stadium after testing positive to COVID on Monday afternoon.
Ratten becomes the fourth coach to be sidelined due to health and safety protocols across the first month of the season, with Michael Voss, Justin Longmuir and Ben Rutten all missing games.
Saints assistant coach Brendon Lade will take over the reins from Ratten with the Saints inside the top four after winning three consecutive games to be 3-1 heading into round five.
St Kilda head of football David Rath said Ratten will remain involved in the preparation for the weekend and is expected to play a role remotely on gameday.
"Brett undertook a rapid antigen test yesterday afternoon after developing minor symptoms at home that morning and it returned a positive result," Rath said.
"Pleasingly, he is feeling well and early signs are pointing to him returning to our program once his isolation ends.
"In the meantime, we’re well placed in that we have a very knowledgeable and experienced coaching team who will be able to physically step in while Brett is away from the club.
"Brett will still be a big part of our preparation for the game and we’re looking at ways we can involve him on Saturday, but Brendon is more than capable to lead the charge."
Ratten is the only member of St Kilda's football department to enter health and safety protocols at this stage.
Since ending his 234-game at Port Adelaide at the end of 2009, Lade has held a number of different coaching roles at Richmond between 2010 and 2016, then returned to the Power for 2017 before moving to Moorabbin in 2018.
Highly regarded assistant coaches Blake Caracella (Essendon), Ash Hansen (Carlton) and Jaymie Graham (Fremantle) have all had the opportunity to coach.
All three have a perfect winning record, with Graham leading the Dockers to wins over West Coast in the Derby and Greater Western Sydney on Saturday.
Lade will be aiming to guide St Kilda to four straight wins for the first time since 2020, the year the Saints ended a nine-year finals hiatus.