Galloping Gasometer's great-nephew impressing at Saints

The Galloping Gasometer and first-year St Kilda speedster Darcy Wilson would appear to have nothing in common, beyond being VFL/AFL players.

North Melbourne's 1975 premiership ruckman Mick Nolan had the nickname thanks to his 194cm, 135kg frame and the resulting resemblance to the giant gas silo that used to loom over the Kangaroos' Arden St home ground.

But for such a big man Nolan also was surprisingly agile and skilled, even at ground level.

So some genes have been passed down from Nolan, who died in 2008, to 18-year-old Wilson, his speedy and skilled great-nephew.

The No.18 pick in last year's draft has made an eye-catching debut, playing in all five Saints games this season.

Darcy Wilson (centre)
St Kilda teammates congratulate Darcy Wilson (centre) on his first AFL goal.

Wilson has had his moments - a blind handball that went astray, and a crunching tackle from Richmond opponent Maurice Rioli - but he has also shown excellent endurance.

His football nous also stood out during the frenetic last quarter of the Saints' win over Richmond two weekends ago at Norwood Oval, when Wilson had a couple of big moments in defence.

As St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs head into Thursday night's clash at Marvel Stadium with stuttering 2-3 records, youngsters such as Wilson give coach Ross Lyon great encouragement that his club is on the right track.

Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, Anthony Caminiti and Mitch Owens are among other younger Saints showing impressive potential. 

While Wilson's football lineage is perhaps unexpected, there is no surprise at all that one of his main mentors at St Kilda is assistant coach Robert Harvey.

Robert Harvey (left) has been a mentor for St Kilda's Darcy Wilson
Dual Brownlow Medallist Robert Harvey has been a mentor for St Kilda youngster Darcy Wilson.

The two-time Brownlow Medallist built his game on exceptional fitness and endurance.

"He's probably exceeded for a first-year player. He's an incredible young player for running capacity," Lyon said of Wilson, who was an 800m runner.

"He has plenty to work on, he's still building his contest, understanding team defence, attack.

"We're thrilled to have him.

"There's a lot of joy for our supporters ... if you're a Saints fan and you see those young players, that's the joy and excitement."

Nevertheless, St Kilda are coming off a one-point loss to GWS where they fought back from a five-goal deficit.

"You can lose going backwards or lose going forwards. We know where we're headed, we know what challenges we have," Lyon said.

"But we want to win - we want to win, baby.

"We're all a little bit frustrated, but I think there are a number of teams in that same boat.

"We want to be brave emotionally from the start, we don't want to be a 'come from five goals down' team and have an honourable loss, because it's not brave enough."

Both sides will be without key forwards, with the Saints' Max King (knee) and the Bulldogs' Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (personal reasons) both unavailable.

Ugle-Hagan's absence comes with the Dogs also missing star midfielder Tom Liberatore, who is undergoing further tests after his dramatic collapse late in last week's upset loss to Essendon.

Oskar Baker has been dropped, while Rory Lobb, Riley Garcia and James Harmes have earnt recalls.

The changes come amid plenty of pressure on the Bulldogs and coach Luke Beveridge.

Veteran midfielder Zak Jones is back for the Saints in place of King..

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