MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 12: Paul Hunter of the Saints competes for the ball with Paddy Ryder of the Saints during a St Kilda Saints AFL training session at Moorabin on February 12, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Martin Keep/Getty Images)

Former St Kilda star Leigh Montagna has urged his old club to move for an AFL ready ruckman ahead of next season.

The Fox Footy analyst believes the club should look into life after veteran ruckman Paddy Ryder, and should look for a formidable ruck partner for the versatile Rowan Marshall.

Ryder has been a key recruit for the Saints since joining the club ahead of the 2020 season, with he and Marshall playing vital roles in St Kilda's finals finish last year.

The 33-year-old is nearing the end of his career, prompting Montagna to suggest the Saints should use this year's exchange period to add experienced ruck talent instead of draft prospects as their premiership window nears.

“They need to go and try and get one from another club – getting an 18-year old ruck won’t help them in the next window,” Montagna said on Fox Footy.

The St Kilda great named a trio of senior Greater Western Sydney ruckman - who could consider greater opportunities elsewhere - as potential targets, as well as Magpies youngster Max Lynch, who was linked to an exit from Collingwood this week.

“There are always young rucks that are not getting a game at other clubs. GWS have got three – Braydon Preuss to come back, there’s either (Kieren) Briggs or (Matthew) Flynn. We hear Max Lynch from Collingwood may be on the market.

GWS Giants Training Session
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 05: Braydon Preuss of the Giants trains during a Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL training session at Tom Wills Oval on February 05, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

“Clubs have had success getting a young ruck that hasn’t been getting a game at one club and turning them into a very good ruckman.

“They’ll need to try and find someone to compliment with Rowan Marshall going forward.”

The Saints are tipped to have a large space in their salary at season's end, with Jack Billings, Jake Carlisle, Luke Dunstan, Seb Ross and James Frawley among a host of players unsigned past this season.

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