Barring an 11th-hour change, Sunday's clash with Richmond will be St Kilda defender Callum Wilkie's 113th uninterrupted game in the red, white and black since his debut.

The Saints vice-captain's streak of 112 successive matches currently ranks as the fourth highest in the AFL, with Collingwood veteran Jack Crisp (218 games), Demons star Christian Petracca (136) and Lions ace Charlie Cameron (122) the only players ahead of Wilkie.

Plucked from SANFL club North Adelaide as a mature-aged rookie following a premiership season with the Roosters, Wilkie's durable run has given the Saints stability across their last line over the past six years.

While he'll modestly joke it's a hesitancy to "put my head over the ball" or run hard on the track, the 28-year-old's efforts to remain available for the Saints continue to bode well for the club's seasonal aspirations.

"Not sprinting too hard so I don't do a soft tissue," Wilkie laughed.

"I've been lucky for my whole career, not just AFL but in the SANFL, I only missed two games through injury. I probably don't put my head over the ball enough now, I'm not too sure.

"I pride myself in being able to be out there each week and do my role for the team, it's a nice little streak I've got going. I don't really think about it too much, I'm not sure what the secret is."

Callum Wilkie during the round 22 AFL match between St Kilda and Brisbane on August 12, 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

Wilkie is part of the extensive list of mature recruits who have thrived in the top flight after putting their best foot forward in the SANFL.

Now an All-Australian defender, the Saints stopper belives there would be plenty of current AFL hopefuls plying their trade in the state league competition that could follow in his footsteps.

"It's a great competition. There's so many good players like (Tyson) Stengle and Brad Close that have come that way," Wilkie said.

"Jack Hayes is one who was dominating the SANFL for so long, I got in the list manager's ear and told them to pick him up.

"There's a lot of good players and it's a great competition, you see so many people from other states come here to play SANFL because you get the crowds and it's a high-quality competition.

"I think there's a lot of players out there that can play AFL."

Having touched back down in South Australia for Gather Round, Wilkie is hoping to continue his strong start to 2024 in front of close friends and family when the Saints face Richmond at Norwood Oval on Sunday.

Ross Lyon's rearguard has been humming across the opening month of the season, with another Croweater in Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera taking his game to new heights early into his third term with the Saints.

Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera during the AFL match between Hawthorn and St Kilda in Round 4, 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

A best-afield performance against Collingwood in Round 2 was just reward for a promising pre-season for the Saints half-back, with Wilkie viewing Wanganeen-Milera as a "complete player" after adding further strings to his bow over the summer.

"He just wants to get better," Wilkie said of the Glenelg junior.

"It's his third year and he's always looking to improve. He's grown in his leadership as well down there, demanding more from myself and (Jack) Sinclair.

"He's taken his game to another level with his run and his field-kicking ability. His defensive ability has gone to another level as well.

"He's a complete player. Can defend in the air or on the ground, can take the game on. We love what he's been doing and we're excited for the future with him."

The Saints are looking to bounce back from a "disappointing and frustrating" defeat to Essendon last weekend, the Saints meet a Tigers outfit who are coming off the high of their first win under new coach Adem Yze.

Richmond will be without key forward pair Tom Lynch and Noah Balta for the occasion, meaning triple Norm Smith Medal winner Dustin Martin could emerge as the focal point in Yze's attacking plans.

Likely to go toe-to-toe with the champion Tiger at The Parade this weekend, Wilkie is well aware of the task at hand in looking to tame 'Dusty'.

"It's difficult, I've played on him a few times and he always keeps you on your toes," he said.

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"He's a great player, once in a generation. It's always exciting to go up against the best. That's who you want to play against, so I'm looking forward to it."

The Saints and Tigers will clash at 2:50pm local time at Norwood Oval on Sunday.