St Kilda Saints Training Session & Media Opportunity
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 18: Brett Ratten, Senior Coach of the Saints speaks with players during a St Kilda Saints AFL Pre-Season Training Session & Media Opportunity at Moorabbin Athletics Track on November 18, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

St Kilda coach Brett Ratten has confirmed new rookie signing Paul Hunter will make his AFL debut in the club's Round 1 clash against Greater Western Sydney.

Hunter was signed to the Saints via the Supplementary Selection Period last month after showing impressive signs at training under Ratten.

With versatile tall Paddy Ryder granted leave away from the club for personal reasons and partner-in-crime Rowan Marshall still managing a stress fracture in his foot, opportunities have opened up for Hunter.

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)

The 28-year-old was listed at Adelaide for four seasons prior to being delisted in 2019 and was listed with Williamstown last year before the VFL season was abolished.

Speaking on FOX Footy's AFL 360, Ratten said: "Paul (Hunter) will play Round 1".

Ratten also spoke on the progress of Marshall, revealing the star tall was only weeks away from a return.

"He's progressing pretty well, we hope that it might be Round 2 or 3 (for a return).. We need to make sure he's right," he said.

New St Kilda recruit Shaun McKernan will also be in line to make his debut in the red, black and white given the limited height at Ratten's disposal.

The Saints will travel to GIANTS Stadium on Sunday, March 21 to get their 2021 campaign underway.