St Kilda Saints Training Session
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 06: Rowan Marshall of the Saints in action during a St Kilda Saints AFL training session at Moorabbin Oval on January 06, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Saints ruckman Rowan Marshall will miss the start of the 2021 AFL season with a stress injury in his foot.

St Kilda confirmed the unfortunate setback for the big man in a statement on Wednesday evening.

It is a big blow for the club just a month out from the season following hamstring injuries to speedster Zak Jones and Ryan Byrnes in recent days, while co-captain Jarryn Geary won’t return to running for another five to six weeks with a fractured leg.

Saints Chief Operating Officer said the club would monitor Marshall’s injury and not rush him back onto the field.

“To have this happen right before the season is obviously disappointing given Rowan is such an important player in our squad,” Lethlean told saints.com.au.

“These types of injuries are ones that you just need to monitor and take your time with, so we’ll work closely with Rowan to make sure it continues improve so that he can return as soon as possible early in the season.”

Marshall enjoyed a breakout season in 2019 and backed up his impressive form last year even while sharing the ruck duties with Paddy Ryder.

The 25-year old averaged 14 disposals, 4.4 marks and 14.6 hitouts from 19 games in 2020.