Saints' reliable Wilkie out to blunt GWS weapon Greene


Callum Wilkie expects his reward for claiming a maiden All-Australian blazer to be a match-up with the AFL representative team's captain.

The St Kilda defender knows he has his work cut out against GWS match-winner Toby Greene in Saturday's elimination final at the MCG.

"I don't know how to stop him. He's an absolute superstar of the competition," Wilkie told AAP.

"I saw his highlights when he was named captain and I just thought, 'Damn it, I'm going to have the job on him'.

"He's such a hard player to stop. He's good in the air and good on the ground, he reads the ball so well and he's so smart.

"It's going to be a tough job."

Wilkie, regarded internally as the Saints' 'Mr Reliable', doesn't mind that.

"It keeps you on your toes, it keeps you engaged and it gets you into the game," he said.

"I definitely don't walk into the game with a smile on my face because I'm pretty nervous with the task that's about to happen.

"It is quite daunting knowing that he can rip games apart off his own boot.

"It's going to be a big task, not just for me, but for the other backs as well."

That defensive unit - and the entire defensive system - has been the Saints' strong suit all season.

Ross Lyon's men finished sixth on the ladder but ranked first in the competition for fewest points conceded, giving up an average of just 71.6 a game.

That was despite playing 14 of 23 fixtures in scoring-friendly conditions under the roof at Marvel Stadium.

"That's been our most consistent area as a whole team, not just our back-line," Wilkie said.

"We had a dull patch through the middle of the year but we weren't getting blown away; we were still defending pretty strongly then but we just couldn't score.

"I feel like we're always going to be in the game because of how strong we defend and that's going to hold us in good stead in the finals when the pressure goes up a notch."

Wilkie was one of two St Kilda defenders named in the league's team of the year, along with second-time All-Australian Jack Sinclair.

Both were originally recruited through the rookie draft, having been overlooked at national lotteries.

Wilkie, now 27, was a mature-age selection who made his AFL debut at 23 and hasn't missed a game since.

"We play the game for team success but in saying that it's nice to be recognised for the hard work, not just this year, but the years before that have got me to where I am," he said.