THE COVID-19 pandemic has taken Brendon Lade from working in construction to becoming a caretaker senior coach.

He'll be the fourth assistant this season to replace the senior coach on game day, when St Kilda host Gold Coast at Marvel Stadium.

Brett Ratten is the latest coach to be sidelined because of the League's health and safety protocols.

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As with many aspects of the pandemic, it's a far cry from two years ago, when the AFL had to shut down for several weeks and Lade worked on a construction site to stay busy.

"It has changed a bit. It was weird back then, two years ago," the former cabinet maker said.

Brett Ratten and Brendon Lade at St Kilda training in May, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"Everyone did something a little bit different to keep their minds occupied and if you could work, you tried to.

"It's come full circle now and I'm back to coaching, so I'm loving it. (But) I do love the construction site, that's for sure."

Lade has plenty of pressure on him - all three of his fellow assistants have had wins when they've sat in the senior coach's chair.

The Saints also have not won four in a row since 2020, the last time they made the finals.

But Lade said the Saints' coaching staff is big on collaboration and he joked that Ratten would be very much with them during Saturday's game.

"His whole house will be set up, ready to go," Lade said.

"He's a little bit frustrated he won't be there, but he will have behind goals (video), he'll have broadcast vision, I'm sure he'll have stats running and he'll have a line to the box.

"He'll see some things a little bit differently and convey that to us.

"Hopefully I can have the same impact he's had."

When he was an assistant at Richmond, Lade said he coached a couple of pre-season games, saying they were "smashed" in one and won the other.

Brendon Lade and Danien Hardwick look on during Richmond's NAB Challenge clash against Carlton in 2016. Picture: AFL Photos

"I'm just the face, so looking forward to it," he said.

"I will probably be doing the talking at the breaks, that's probably the only change that will happen for me."

The Saints lost ruckman Paddy Ryder to a two-game suspension at the tribunal on Tuesday night, meaning Jack Hayes or Tom Campbell will come into the side.

"Two weeks is going to be a long time without Paddy," Lade said.

"We're pretty confident they (Hayes or Campbell) can fill the shoes."

St Kilda's Jack Hayes celebrates a goal against Collingwood in R1, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Another consideration is where to play speedster Bradley Hill, who kicked four goals in last Sunday's thumping of Hawthorn.

"We'll leave him forward and he'll have an impact, hopefully the same as last week.

"It was a bonus to get his four goals, but his running ability in that position just stood out to us and hopefully we can use him in good ways again."