St Kilda coach Brett Ratten is hopeful ruckman Rowan Marshall will knock back interest from rival AFL clubs and commit his future to the Saints.
St Kilda have made a strong start to the season but face a huge test when they take on the reigning premiers Melbourne on Sunday. They are priced at 5/2 to beat the Demons.
Marshall will also be up against the might of five-time All-Australian Max Gawn. It will be a true test for Marshall but St Kilda are delighted to welcome him back after he missed last week’s one-point defeat against Port Adelaide through injury.
There has also been talk of him being lured away. Essendon have been linked along with a number of other AFL clubs.
However Ratten is hopeful he will re-sign.
"Rowan is a terrific player. He has this year to go, hopefully he signs here for a very long time. It is part of the game; we can't change that. He hasn’t told me he's not happy. He is a terrific player, a terrific person," Ratten told reporters.
"Clubs are going to make bids for out-of-contract players. We have our discussions about out-of-contract players for opposition as well, it's part of the game."
St Kilda were criticised for playing last week’s defeat against Port Adelaide in Cairns but Ratten says the venue did not matter. They just did not take their opportunities.
"I think as a team, you've got to be able to play anywhere," he added. "For us, 61 inside 50s, 22 shots at goal, +22 in contested ball, + 11 in tackles, the numbers were there with the opportunities within the game, so I don’t think it’s the venue.
We just didn’t make the most of our opportunities.”