VICTORY over the high-flying Lions in Brisbane will give St Kilda the perfect springboard into the back half of their season, according to coach Brett Ratten.
The Lions are second on the ladder after a 14-point loss to third-placed Fremantle last round while the Saints are coming off the bye, which followed three successive wins to sit fifth.
"Probably the hard work starts now for us," Ratten said ahead of their Saturday night clash.
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"We've got ourselves into a position, which is encouraging, and we've shown growth as a team but now that real hard work starts.
"We've got 11 games to go to see where we're at."
Ratten said Brisbane at the Gabba would provide his side with a measure of where it sits against the competition heavyweights.
The Saints can take confidence from knocking over the Dockers in Perth in round two.
"With these teams around you, you find out where you're at, especially at their home ground," Ratten said.
"The challenges up there – the ground, their supporters, their environment – but that's what I'm looking forward to seeing where our group's at.
"The maturity of our group has really flourished this season, when we've been challenged in games ... our resilience to just fight and find a way is really pleasing and we'll have to do that this week.
"We know what they can do up there – I think they've won 22 of 23 up there so it makes a big challenge for us."
Ratten expected a long night at the selection table with St Kilda players in rude health but it was a headache he welcomed.
Former skipper Jarryn Geary isn't available after his shoulder injury flared but should only miss the week.
"We haven't been in this place for a while, to have a number of players in good form ready to go and play, but it is a good place for us to be," Ratten said.
Star Brisbane key forward Joe Daniher is set to return after five games out with a shoulder injury with Ratten intrigued to see how the Lions lined up their tall timber.
The threat of St Kilda ruck duo Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall means the Lions will likely need to call on two genuine ruckmen to counter.
"Do they play the two (ruckmen Oscar McInerney and Darcy Fort)?" Ratten said.
"That means their forward line will be (Eric) Hipwood, (Dan) McStay, Daniher and Fort, which is quite tall.
"It will be interesting."