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Ratten talks up opportunity for Saints’ finals inclusions

“Finals series, whether it’s your first final or first game for the year, you look through history and it’s littered with people who have come in and had an impact.

“All the way back to Dermott [Brereton], you can go through 1995 with Matty Hogg or last year [Marlion] Pickett with the Tiges.”

Ratten said the changes breed opportunity for his side.

Ratten said the changes breed opportunity for his side. Credit:Getty Images

Brereton kicked five goals on debut in Hawthorn’s 1982 semi-final win over North Melbourne, Pickett kicked one goal among 22 disposals on debut in the 2019 grand final for Richmond, and Hogg – with Ratten in the side – played only round 22 through to Carlton’s winning grand final in 1995.

“People are going to get these opportunities and it’s whether you can grab them with both hands and make the most of it,” Ratten said.

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The coach said having to make three changes was “not perfect” but that his players had done a good job not getting distracted by the Long tribunal saga this week.

“It didn’t take any momentum from us,” he said, of the week.

The Saints’ Ryder-Rowan Marshall ruck/forward combination has worked well in 2020, particularly in the elimination final with the Bulldogs.

Ryder did not play in the side’s round four win over Richmond.

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“We had a different-looking team from the first final to when we first played Richmond, when Marsh played and a few others as well. It might look a bit similar to that,” Ratten said.

“Last time it was Marshall against Nankervis and it was one ruckman each.

“They might have two this time, by all reports. But I think Rowan has been ready to go and is looking to play more ruck time, so it’s a great opportunity for him.

“That’s why we brought Paddy in, to make sure they were fresh at the pointy end of the year.

“It’s been a big workload for some of the rucks in the competition, who have had to do it by themselves. But he’s ready to go. I think he’ll really thrive in this environment.”

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