Coach Brett Ratten says the teen talent at St Kilda will help ease the loss of skipper Jack Steele and small forward Jack Higgins in their AFL clash with Adelaide.
Steele was at Moorabbin on Friday to watch their captain’s run after undergoing successful shoulder surgery which is likely to sideline him for six weeks.
Higgins will miss Saturday’s Adelaide Oval clash after his second concussion of the season.
Ratten was buoyant about the Saints’ chances with youngsters Nasiah Wangaeneen-Milera and Marcus Windhager, who are both 19 and made their AFL debuts this season.
“Steel has been inspirational in the way he’s played but I think our season’s been built around players coming in doing their role,” Ratten said on Friday.
“Nasiah will come in – it was only management that he went out of the team – and Marcus Windhager’s form on the weekend it was nearly game-changing for us, the way he went about it.
“He gets a full game now which is great so two young players stepping straight into teams, it’s good.”
The Saints rebounded after two losses with a rousing 10-point win over Geelong while the Crows dropped to 14th on the ladder after three heavy losses.
Ratten said his sixth-placed Saints were on guard for an Adelaide side capable of doing some damage despite a 36-point loss to second-ranked Brisbane last round.
“They played some really good football against Brisbane and that game was in the balance – they got out to about a 15 point lead, they did a lot of things right,” Ratten said of the Crows.
“They did a lot of things right but they probably just didn’t get the four quarter performance they were after.
“Their contest work … not just at the contests but away, they work so hard, (Ben) Keays and (Rory) Laird around the midfield and that forward line has got some big threats in there when you’ve got (Taylor) Walker and (Josh) Rachele and (Shane) McAdam, they can kick a score.
“Our ability to win that contest will be critical.”
Meanwhile Ratten didn’t have a timeline for the return of Dan Hannebery, who made a trip to Munich, Germany, for special medical treatment on his troublesome calves.
“He’s up and about, really positive, big smile on the face,” Ratten said of the injury-plagued midfielder.
“It will freshen him up mentally as well, which is great, but we’ll just let the rehab and the process take care of itself so we’re not completely sure of the timeline there.”