Saints rally around isolating AFL ruckman

Rowan Marshall (c) has been confined to a Perth hotel room and will miss the West Coast clash.
Rowan Marshall (c) has been confined to a Perth hotel room and will miss the West Coast clash.

St Kilda coach Brett Ratten is worried about Rowan Marshall and says it's important the club puts in every effort to ensure the isolating ruckman feels the love from the group.

Marshall was forced into isolation this week after discovering he had visited a Tier 1 COVID-19 exposure site in Melbourne following the Wallabies' Test against France.

St Kilda are currently staying in a resort in Joondalup, Perth, ahead of Saturday's clash with West Coast at Optus Stadium.

Marshall is also in the resort, but is now confined to his room and can't have any face-to-face contact with anyone.

"We're just really worried about him now," Ratten said.

"We're in Joondalup where we get a little bit of luxury of moving around the resort. But he's actually locked in his room. His meals are being dropped off at the door.

"So to make sure his wellbeing is alright, we've got our psych here, everyone is touching base with him, and we're trying to get a little bit of equipment so he can do some form of exercise in his room.

"But he doesn't have much space."

It will be up to the West Australian government as to whether Marshall will be allowed to fly back to Melbourne with the team this weekend, or wait for his isolation period to expire on July 27 before being permitted to leave.

Ratten said Marshall is holding up well so far, but concedes it is a difficult situation for the ruckman.

"The support is critical," Ratten said.

"But he's going fine. It's not just Rowan - people around Australia have been put in these situations. But he's with us in our group, so that's how we're taking care of him."

Marshall's absence means veteran Paddy Ryder will have to shoulder the bulk of the ruck load against West Coast star Nic Naitanui on Saturday.

Ratten said Naitanui was so good, that even if Marshall was there to team with Ryder it would still be a huge challenge.

"Nic is one of the elite players in the competition," Ratten said.

"He changes games in short periods. Sometimes it's not what he does for the whole game, it's what he can do in about 15 minutes of footy sometimes.

"He just turns the game on its head. He gets the momentum going for West Coast.

"He brings Elliot Yeo in, Tim Kelly, Luke Shuey - all those types get the reward of his good work."

The Eagles will be without skipper Luke Shuey (calf), but expect spearhead Josh Kennedy to return.

The 11th-placed Saints are just one win adrift of the seventh-placed Eagles, meaning the stakes will be high on Saturday.

Australian Associated Press