St Kilda is hopeful the reigning best and fairest winner, Jack Sinclair, will be able to put his hand up for selection against Geelong on Saturday at GMHBA Stadium.

Sinclair - who has been battling a calf issue throughout the pre-season - missed the two practice matches as the Saints managed his workload.

As they begin their season, the club is prepared to put him through his paces, preparing him for the rigours of AFL football.

Teammate Callum Wilkie is confident that Sinclair can put his hand up but says that if he's not right, someone else can step up in his place.

"He (Sinclair) trained today and will do match sim on Thursday to put his best foot forward but will leave that to Ross and the medical staff," Wilkie said on Tuesday.

"With him on the sidelines, we've been able to blood Riley Bonner and play him in the half-back role but we hope to see 'Sincs' out there soon.

"It's next man up, we are a system-based team so someone will just come in and fill a role."

If Sinclair does get recalled for the Round 1 clash with Geelong, there is still a good chance that Bonner features in the side, given rebounding defender Jimmy Webster will begin serving his seven-game suspension for his lewd bump on Jy Simpkin.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 03: Jimmy Webster of the Saints looks on at the quarter-time break during the 2024 AFL AAMI Community Series match between the St Kilda Saints and North Melbourne Kangaroos at RSEA Park on March 03, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The hamstring injury to Dougal Howard has also opened up a key defensive position alongside Wilkie, who has a few names in mind, including Pick 62 in the 2023 National Draft Arie Schoenmaker and experienced campaigner Zaine Cordy, to fill the void.

"I think he's a chance (to play)," Wilkie said.

"Ross really likes him and he's got an abundant of talent. We saw it against Essendon, his ability to mark the ball, and his use with his foot.

"He's got good height, good size, good speed, he's very athletic and will be a very good player. Obviously, he's really young but I think he's a chance for the weekend.

"Zaine Cordy will slot in, he did a great job last year in the backend when Dougal went down.

"He'll fit right in... experienced player, leads really well, uses his voice so he'll fit in seamlessly."

While Schoenmaker's Round 1 prospects are yet to be decided, the club has revealed midfielder Darcy Wilson will line-up against the Cats.

Confirming the selection call on Tuesday, Wilson expressed his excitement to run out in Saints colours in a club statement.

“I'm pretty excited, I'm keen to get out there in Geelong and run out with the boys,” Wilson told

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“A lot of hard work has gone into it, but I've been supported really well at the Saints so I'm really looking forward to it.

“I've learned heaps off a couple of leaders - Jack Steele, Jack Sinclair and all the classy players that show you how hard you have to train. I've loved my time here and there's exciting times ahead.”

Wilkie will likely need help to combat the dynamic forward duo at the Cats, which consists of experienced spearheads Jeremy Cameron and Tom Hawkins, despite his impressive record against them.

"It's going to be a big challenge... I've played on 'Jezza' a few times and he always keeps you on your toes," Wilkie said.

"He's an amazing player and I'm really looking forward to it. I know it's going to be tough but we're up for the fight.

"There's no secret (to keeping Cameron quiet). I just try not to let him use his athletic ability against me but it's a tough challenge. Sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn't."

The Saints expect a full crowd in Geelong on Saturday as the Cats have recently completed their redevelopment of GMHBA Stadium.