ST KILDA'S prized pick Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera will make a proper debut against Fremantle at Optus Stadium on Sunday, after being the unused medical sub in round one.

The No.11 pick from last November's NAB AFL Draft was named as the 23rd man on game day against Collingwood last Friday night, but didn’t get on the ground in the 17-point loss.

The Saints will pick the South Australian in the 22 for this weekend's trip to Western Australia, providing Wanganeen-Milera with his first taste of AFL football. 


While the medical substitute rule has provided some players with the opportunity to play senior football earlier than they otherwise would have, it has been criticised for situations like last weekend when a first-gamer doesn’t enter the field of play on debut. 

Wanganeen-Milera will wear the famous No.7 jumper when he faces the Dockers in Perth, the number worn by St Kilda icons Nicky Winmar and Lenny Hayes. 

Winmar presented Wanganeen-Milera with his jumper before the round one clash at Marvel Stadium.

St Kilda's Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera is presented with his jumper by club legend Nicky Winmar. Picture: Getty Images

The silky wingman from Glenelg will help provide Brett Ratten's side with some coverage in an area of the ground the Saints have been decimated by player unavailability at the start of the season.

Jack Billings (hamstring) and Hunter Clark (shoulder) both suffered injuries in the AAMI Community Series that could see them miss the first six rounds, while there is an unknown around the return dates of former Sydney pair Zak Jones (personal leave) and Dan Hannebery (calf). 

Wanganeen-Milera's inclusion will give the Saints a morale boost after round one's loss against the Pies.

Ratten said his team needed to improve across the park with scoring opportunities missed, while they were meek defensively.

"We looked at the game and thought that's not us," he said.

"It wasn't horrific but it left a bad taste in our mouths.

"We blundered some chances going forward and Collingwood out-tackled us - their pressure was better, they handled the pressure better.

"Some of our transition numbers defensively were pretty good but there were aspects of the game where we didn't defend to the level we should have.

"For them to score 27 times from 54 entries is just too much."

Eighteen-year-old Wanganeen-Milera has famous football family connections with his uncle Gavin Wanganeen winning a Brownlow Medal and five All-Australian selections, while his stepfather, Terry Milera, played 30 games for the Saints between 2012 and 2014.

Wanganeen-Milera is set to be the third new face exposed to senior football this season for the Saints, after the brilliant debut by mature-age recruit Jack Hayes and Mitch Owens

Jack Hayes celebrates a goal on debut in round one, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

In a round where Nick Daicos and Josh Rachele burst onto the scene and where Nic Martin earned a Rising Star nomination after being signed during the pre-season supplemental selection period, Hayes produced the most captivating debut of the round. 

The 26-year-old kicked three goals from 18 disposals and ten marks to be St Kilda best player in round one, after being overlooked for years despite dominating for Woodville West-Torrens in the SANFL. 

Now Wanganeen-Milera will get his chance to play for the first time.