Callum Wilkie – St Kilda’s Iron Man

St Kilda's Callum Wilkie in action for SA's U18 team in 2014. Picture - Peter Argent


Staggeringly, North Adelaide’s mature-aged recruit Callum Wilkie has not missed an game for St Kilda since his AFL debut in Round 1, 2019.

Despite being undersized for a key back at 191cm, Wilkie has continued to show a wonderful resilience and work rate, that was cultivated during his time in SANFL’s junior and senior programs.

The Roosters’ export has been ultra-consistent since arriving at Moorabbin, entrenching himself in the Saints defence since his first game against the Gold Coast Suns.

In Friday night’s clash with Brisbane at the Gabba, the All-Australia defender will play his 123rd consecutive game, equaling the Saints club record currently shared by Ian Synman and Jack Newnes.

Wilkie is one of just nine players in the game’s history to feature in 100 VFL/AFL consecutive games since debut.

In 2023, along with his inaugural All-Australian jumper, Wilkie also garnered a second-placed finish at the 2023 Trevor Barker Award (St Kilda’s best and fairest).

Starting his community football at the Walkerville Cats, he also played at Rostrevor College, as well as being a member of the SA Under 18s in 2014.

While he attended the Draft Combine that season, he was overlooked by all 18 AFL clubs.

Callum Wilkie in action for the Saints during Gather Round. Picture – Peter Argent

“Callum was a very talented junior, playing both Under 16s and Under 18s for SA,” Darryl Wintle, North Adelaide’s long-term Football Manager, explained.

“Over the four years at senior level with us, he evolved into a best-and-fairest footballer in a premiership season.

“He was and still is reliable, diligent and professional in everything he undertakes.

“Callum was always well respected by his teammates, along with the off-field personnel at the club.

“His strengths as a player included his game awareness, ability to position himself behind the ball, coupled with his marking ability and effective use of the ball by foot.

“He is one of the people who has the ability to engage with everyone and is well liked by his peers.

“He’s a genuine all-round good bloke.”

Callum Wilkie juggles a mark for North Adelaide in 2016. Picture – Peter Argent

At senior level at North Adelaide, Wilkie was runner up in its 2017 senior best and fairest award, the Barrie Robran Medal.

In 2018, he played in North Adelaide’s SANFL premiership, where the Roosters charged home from the elimination final to win their first flag for 27 years.

To top off that season, Wilkie won the Barrie Robran Medal and was selected in the 2019 AFL Rookie Draft with the third pick after attending the SA state draft combine.

Wilkie first played SANFL League football in 2015, debuting against Central District at Prospect Oval.

He would play 63 matches in the Roosters’ red-and-white, kicking 15 goals before getting his chance at AFL level in his mid 20s.

Wilkie also played a role in convincing St Kilda’s recruiting staff to bring Jack Hayes into their program, and presented the 2021 Jack Oatey Medalist with his first jumper in the opening round of the 2022 campaign against Collingwood at Marvel Stadium.

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