St Kilda's Brett Ratten will face off against his former AFL club as rival coach David Teague faces mounting pressure to keep his job at Carlton.
Almost nine years after he was dumped by the Blues as they pursued three-time premiership mentor Mick Malthouse, Ratten needs no reminder of how brutal AFL coaching is.
Carlton will miss finals for an eighth-straight season, with last Saturday's dismal defeat to bottom-of-the-ladder North Melbourne placing extra heat on Teague.
"That's the nature of coaching. It's a brutal game, and the spotlight comes not fairly on people," Ratten said.
"It's a tough game. When we put our hand up to take it, we know what it looks like.
"You do feel for people and sometimes it's unfair and the attacks are personal by people out there, too."
The Saints will host Carlton at Marvel Stadium on Friday night as they attempt to keep their faint finals hopes alive.
St Kilda will be boosted by the return of star ruck-forward Rowan Marshall, who missed last week's eight-point loss to West Coast after being forced to isolate.
Marshall missed Wednesday's main training session at RSEA Park but Ratten sees no issue with him coming straight back into the Saints' team despite the unusual preparation.
Close defeats to the Eagles and Port Adelaide during the last two weeks have made a finals berth difficult but the Saints still only sit two points away from eighth-placed GWS.
Australian Associated Press