PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA - MAY 12: Sam Gilbert of the Saints is tackled by Andrew Brayshaw of the Dockers during the round eight AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the St Kilda Saints at Optus Stadium on May 12, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Media/Getty Images)

St Kilda’s veteran defender Sam Gilbert says he has intentions to play on next year whether or not the Saints offer him a new contract.

“I’ve got aspirations to continue to play. I think I’m good enough to be out there with the boys,” Gilbert told Fox Sports.

“I don’t have a manager and I haven’t spoken to the club yet.

“I’m in no rush. I just like to wait until the end of the year. Then we’ll sit down, have a chat, and I’m sure whatever the decision is it will be mutual.”

The 202-gamer is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this year and with the rise of the St Kilda backline, it is looking more unlikely that they will offer Gilbert a new contract.

“Absolutely,” Gilbert said of a potential move.

“I think once you’ve been in the football environment — and growing up it’s something you want to do — you know, I haven’t lost my passion at all.

“It’s something I’d love to continue to do.”

Despite being out of favour with the selection committee, Gilbert believes his experience is invaluable for developing the Saints’ young backline.

“I think it shows that you do need leadership and maturity in the backline. I think I bring that,” the 31-year-old said.

“I haven’t at this stage lost my pace. I’d really like to be part of it and help the young boys develop, whatever roll that is.”

Gilbert also responded to the harsh comments made by his former captain and good friend Nick Riewoldt on the Saints’ poor start to the season.

“I’ve obviously played a lot of football with Roo and he is an incredible leader, incredible bloke and a good friend of mine,” he said.

“That’s his opinion and he’s totally entitled to that.

“I see internally that at every review we have we’re trying to improve.”

The defender believes the club is heading in the right direction after their come-from-behind win against Gold Coast last weekend.

“I think in that last quarter the boys played incredibly well and it showed the blueprint of how we want to play,” Gilbert said.

“If we can match that going into next week’s game I’m sure we’ll be in a position to win, or at least being in the game.”