Skipper Jack Steele says he’ll be using the scars from last year’s elimination final defeat to GWS as ammunition for a fierce performance in the nation’s capital this weekend.

The Saints were bumped out of September last season courtesy of a blistering elimination final performance from the Giants, in which Steele starred for his side with a dominant 38 disposals to keep his side in the hunt.

GWS’ strong form has carried into the new year, with Adam Kingsley’s team one of three undefeated outfits at the start of the season.

But record aside, Steele said his Saints - currently sitting 2-2 after a narrow win over Richmond in Gather Round last weekend - were chomping at the bit to take it up to GWS in his native Canberra.


“They’re one of the best teams in the competition and they’re undefeated for a reason. They did a really good job on us last year in the final, so we’re expecting a pretty hard-hitting contest on the weekend, that’s for sure,” Steele said.

“I think it’ll hurt a few blokes. It definitely hurts me being captain of the club and losing to your former side in the final, but I personally use that as motivation to get better and bring our best come Saturday.”

Steele and the Saints have a “pretty handy” GWS midfield to contend with at Manuka Oval, headlined by young sensation and fellow Canberran, Tom Green.

St Kilda will regain Marcus Windhager after serving out his one-game suspension for rough conduct and is potentially in the frame to resume his run-with duties on his GWS counterpart.

If not Windhager, Steele says he’s more than happy to put his hand up to go toe-to-toe with Green after spending time against him in last year’s elimination final.

“Tom Green’s probably the best midfielder in the competition at the moment. They’ve got some pretty big threats in there,” Steele said.

“At times we have gone not so much a tag, but a run-with role, especially at stoppage to players like Tom Green. I’m sure it’s something we’ll look to this week, but if we don’t I feel like there’s a pretty good match-up for me. I’ll try to get to him at as many stoppages as I possibly can if there’s no one else making him a bit of a target. 

It will be a challenge… but I’m looking forward to potentially going head-to-head with him.

- Jack Steele

“He’s a massive, massive person and he’s very strong too. I played a little bit on him in the final last year and I think he got the best of me that day. It’s something we’ll look to train tomorrow, how to play him and how to approach him and the other mids too.

“Sometimes when you play on a player like that, it brings you towards the ball as well. That’s half the reason why I want to put my hand up and go to him, but it’s a great opportunity for myself or either some of our younger mids to experience a quality midfield in the Giants.”

Steele is coming off a terrific 33-disposal outing against Richmond which dragged his side towards a seven-point win at Norwood Oval.


Despite playing close to a lone hand in the opening half, the skipper was buoyed by the young Saints who stepped up to the plate after half-time, particularly first-year draftee Darcy Wilson.

Wilson laid a brilliant run-down tackle in the dying moments to prevent the Tigers from potentially stealing back the lead, with the moment earning the admiration of Steele.

“When he laid that tackle in the fourth quarter, I thought ‘how does he look so fresh still?’. He’s got the ability that most of us don’t, which I suppose is pretty rare for a first-year player to come in and do that,” Steele said.

“It’s great to see him play the first four games of the year and stand out in certain patches. I think as time goes on he’ll just get better and better and be more comfortable that in role that he’s been playing. He’ll start to flourish.”

While at times too much has been left to too few during Steele’s time at the club, the emergence of both youth and experience has lessened the weight on his shoulders.

“It’s a nice feeling. It can really wear you down,” Steele said.

“To be fair, I haven’t been at my best for a couple of years, but even when I was playing some really good footy a few years ago I did feel that load.

“It’s nice to come back, my body’s holding together and I don’t have to put that load and stress on myself because I’ve got those young lads that are really picking up the slack.”