St Kilda's dynamic ruck duo of Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall will finally reunite as the Saints seek to turn around their flailing AFL season.
Ryder will make his first AFL appearance of 2021, forcing his way back into the top side by finding form and fitness in the VFL after his pre-season was interrupted by leaving the club on personal leave in March.
Saints coach Brett Ratten is not expecting miracles from the 32-year-old but a victory over Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium on Sunday is a non-negotiable for the Saints, who are 16th on the ladder with a 2-4 record.
Ryder badly injured his hamstring late in St Kilda's drought-breaking elimination final win last October and missed the following week's defeat to eventual premiers Richmond.
"It's been a while for (Ryder) since he's played senior footy," Ratten said.
"He won't be perfect, he'll make a few blues and things like that but to have our ruck combination out there will give us a lot of confidence around the midfield.
"But we've still got to win the ball, whether they hit the ball or not there will be a fair bit of work at ground level we'll have to improve as well."
St Kilda were thumped by premiership fancies Port Adelaide by 54 points on Sunday night - their third loss by nine goals or more this season.
High-profile speedster Brad Hill has again been at the centre of criticism but Ratten believes St Kilda's overall connection has to rapidly improve.
"I think at times he's (Hill) been in good spots and we haven't given him the ball and then other times he's had the ball and other players have been in good spots," Ratten said.
"With our group at the moment, everyone's trying to fix it themselves and we need them to actually think of others and be in that team mode.
"Their agenda is the right one, they want to do it, they want to be the one to kick-start us but it's not going to help us (overall), we need to do it collectively."