Saints coach backs Campbell's AFL return

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Journeyman Tom Campbell is being backed by St Kilda coach Brett Ratten to revive his AFL career after the ruckman was thrown a lifeline against Port Adelaide.

Campbell will line up for his third AFL club when the Saints host the Power in Cairns on Saturday night.

Campbell has played 54 games in his 11 years in the AFL system, with previous stints at the Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne, where he featured in nine matches last year.

The 30-year-old was signed by the Saints as a delisted free agent last November.

The move, in hindsight, is a smart one given the Saints have lost two ruckmen to injury - Jack Hayes (knee reconstruction) and Rowan Marshall.

Marshall will miss the trip to Cairns after suffering a posterior cruciate ligament injury in a knee last weekend.

Saints coach Ratten says Campbell's form in the VFL has been heartening as he prepares to support lead ruckman Paddy Ryder against Port.

"He is a competitor, Tom," Ratten told reporters on Friday.

"It is his third club but as we know, ruckmen get better with age.

"And for him, at just 30 years of age, he still has a fair bit of footy in him.

"For him to come into our team, he is ready to go. He has been playing good VFL footy so we have got full faith in him that he will help Paddy and get the job done there.

"He has worked extremely hard since he has been at our footy club."

Marshall joins rival ruckmen Brodie Grundy and Marc Pittonet in being sidelined by a PCL injury but Ratten called for calm amid debate over changing ruck rules to avoid front-on contact.

"We haven't seen the PCL for a while so just let the game tell us what it needs by the end of the year," he said.

"And then they can adjust accordingly but I think it's going fine."

The Saints hold fifth spot on the ladder with a sole loss - a round-one defeat to Collingwood.

Despite his side's strong form, Ratten is wary of the 14th-placed Power who only chalked off their first win of the season last weekend.

"They're dangerous," he said.

"Their last month, they lost by a kick against Adelaide after the siren, they got beaten by Melbourne which every team has so far this year, they lost to Carlton by a point and then they beat West Coast.

"So their form in the last month is very good."

With Zak Jones and Jack Billings soon to be joined in state league ranks by Hunter Clark, the Saints are on the cusp of getting their top players back.

"It is going to get tight and that is something last year we probably didn't have the luxury in doing, is changing personnel and maybe putting players on notice a bit more.

"When you have got a healthy list it does put a lot of pressure on players and you don't even really have to say much because they're trying to hold their spot and perform at the level that is required."

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