Bombers happy to have Paddy back in the ruck

ESSENDON midfielder David Zaharakis will be happy to see Paddy Ryder back in the ruck against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium tonight.

The Bombers struggled without a recognised ruckman in the loss to Fremantle last week, with Dockers giant Aaron Sandilands serving up 45 hitouts to his grateful on-ballers.

Ryder's comeback from injury is key to Essendon's success, says Zaharakis (pictured), who feels he and his teammates will benefit from the big man's ruck work.

"The midfielders are happy that Paddy Ryder is back in the side," he said. "We can start winning some hitouts, which is great. He's obviously a big asset for us."

St Kilda, too, will welcome back its No.1 big man, Tom Hickey. He missed last week's heavy defeat to Adelaide with a calf complaint.

The Saints have also included five left-footers in the team - Adam Schneider, Jack Billings, Tom Hickey, Seb Ross and Josh Bruce.