Callum Wilkie: ‘Playing senior footy was the ultimate goal’
Armed with four years of state league football experience, 23-year-old Callum Wilkie is hoping he can make an immediate impact at the top level with St Kilda.
He went One on One with Tom Staggard to talk about North Adelaide’s premiership success, his move to Victoria and how he plans to crack into the Saints’ best 22 in 2019.
Tom Staggard: Where in South Australia did you grow up and how did you get into footy?
Callum Wilkie: I grew up in Walkerville, which is about five or ten minutes north-east of the city.
I did some Auskick sessions and started playing under 8’s at Walkerville Football Club, along with school footy.
I was picked in the North Adelaide under 13’s development squad and it kind of just went from there.
TS: What school did you go to?
CW: I went to Trinity Gardens Primary School in Magill until the end of year three and then I went to Rostrevor College starting in year four all the way up to year 12.
TS: Do you come from a sporting family and did you play footy in the winter and cricket in the summer like most kids growing up?
CW: Yeah I did play footy in the winter and cricket in the summer.
I’ve got an older brother who’s three years older than me who’s really into basketball. He had two years of footy at Walkerville when he was younger but he never really gave footy a crack.
I played a bit of basketball too until it started to get in the way of football training and games.
I stopped playing cricket in about year 10 because I just got sick of it and footy was the real passion.
TS: You became a member of the Saints through the Rookie Draft. What was that process like and how did you find the move to Victoria?
CW: I’m an easy-going guy and I take it as it comes so the Rookie Draft happened and I was straight on the flight to the Saints.
The move over to Victoria was quite easy to be honest.
If I was going to be selected, I really wanted to head interstate.
I find over here all you know is football and that’s what I wanted to do – 24/7 football.
The Saints have a young list everyone is a similar age to me.
All the guys are great, we’re really similar and we get along well. Which has made it really easy.
TS: You often see players who want to play as close to home as possible, but you seem to feel the opposite way. Have you really relished the challenge?
CW: Yeah definitely.
I’ve always wanted to live abroad and it was probably never going to happen because I was playing in the SANFL, whereas this chance has given me the opportunity to do that.
It’s pushed me out of my comfort zone to come to a new city and what’s great over here is all I know is football.
I don’t have those distractions of your old life in a way, the social setting and that kind of thing.
I also don’t really have that much family in Adelaide, it’s only my immediate family, my aunty and my grandma.
Whereas I’ve got other aunties and uncles who live all around Australia and my mother’s side are from England.
I guess when you compare me to other players who want to play really close to their families, as much as I love my mum and dad, I don’t really have that big family pull back to Adelaide.
I was keen to get out and put all my time into football.