St Kilda tall Jack Hayes has gained plenty of praise ahead of his AFL debut, with the Woodville-West Torrens product touted as "one of the great mysteries" to have missed a chance in the top flight, until now.

Hayes linked up with the Moorabbin club after a stellar season with the Eagles, highlighted by a best-afield grand final performance that saw the key-position star record 26 disposals, nine marks, seven clearances and three goals against Glenelg to earn Jack Oatey Medal.

The outing placed Hayes on the radar of AFL clubs, however his place atop the mantle of South Australian football had been prominent for some time.

Capable of playing in the ruck, through the centre and as a key-position swingman, Hayes has the ability to forge multiple roles for St Kilda this season.

Set to play his first game for the Saints against Collingwood under the Friday night lights, Hayes' first step onto an AFL ground has been a long time coming according to those among SA circles.

Speaking to Zero Hanger, Hayes' new roommate and fellow 2022 Supplemental Selection Period recruit Jarrod Lienert stated Hayes has always been seen as a viable option for the AFL, given the pair have crossed paths across their respective stints in the SANFL.

"Looking from afar and playing against him over the last few years, it's been one of the great mysteries in South Australia why he hasn't been on an AFL list," Lienert said of Hayes.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 24: Jack Hayes of the Saints and Marc Pittonet of the Blues compete in a ruck contest during an AFL practice match between the Carlton Blues and the St Kilda Saints at Ikon Park on February 24, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos)

"Whether he's not quite tall enough to be a ruckman or if they think he's a bit slow or whatever... I don't know. He just competes really hard in the air and on the ground and is an absolute beast around the ground and in the ruck.

"He's going to compete and I could not be happier for him to get his opportunity. I know how much it means for him and his family.

"For him to get the chance and get a few games under his belt, I know it'd be a dream come true."

Hayes is set to share the ruck duties with Rowan Marshall in the absence of veteran ruckman Paddy Ryder for Round 1, with the 25-year-old hoping to take an early chance and impress in his maiden match.

The 192cm utility is joined by Next Generation Academy graduate Mitchito Owens in making his AFL debut on Friday night, while top draftee Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera could be injected into the game as a medical sub.