St Kilda coach Brett Ratten has applauded Jack Billings’ courage for playing with a heel injury in last week’s loss to Richmond.
The Saints wingman tore his plantar fascia in the pre-match warm-up last Thursday but still took the field and managed 14 disposals in the hefty defeat.
“(Billings) still played which was a fantastic effort for him to get through under duress,” Ratten told reporters on Thursday.
Coming off a 10-day break, the 25-year-old will likely line up for the Saints against Port Adelaide on ANZAC Day.
St Kilda will also be bolstered by the inclusions of ruckman Rowan Marshall and midfielder Zak Jones, who return from a plantar fascia injury and soreness, respectively.
Richmond dominated clearances in its 86-point thrashing of St Kilda last week, so Ratten’s Saints will be thankful for the pair’s return in round six.
“That’ll give our midfield a bit of confidence to have one in the contest in the air and one at ground level so that’ll really help us,” Ratten said.
Two key Saints could return for Sunday's clash with the Power.
Marshall and Jones were close to lining up for the Richmond clash, but a short turnaround prompted Ratten to rest the injured pair.
“If that game was another two days, if it was a seven day (turnaround), (Marshall) would have played against Richmond but it wasn’t, Jones would have played as well,” Ratten said.
Paddy Ryder will likely return from personal leave to play in the VFL this week, with Ratten looking to name him in the side to face Hawthorn in round seven.
“We’re going to get some soldiers back and quality soldiers, too,” Ratten said.
Ratten’s Saints willSource:Getty Images
In Thursday’s press conference, Ratten defended St Kilda’s marquee midfielder Brad Hill, who has been accused of underperforming this season.
“He’s about 50/50 at the moment,” Ratten said.
“I think everybody focuses on Brad but there’s a few other as well I reckon in the team that need to lift.”
St Kilda is hoping to notch its third win of the season against fourth-placed Port Adelaide this Sunday.
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