AFL Round 22 St Kilda v Gold Coast Suns
The Suns' Luke Russell kicks around St.Kilda's David Armitage. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
St Kilda veteran Justin Koschitzke won't be handed a fairytale 200th and final match unless he is fit enough to earn it.
The 30-year-old has shown promising signs that his calf injury has healed but Saints coach Scott Watters and the Saints' medical staff have refused to lock in the much-loved ruckman unless he proves he can run out the match.
Star goal sneak Stephen Milne and defender Jason Blake have also announced their retirements and are expected to play their final matches when the Saints host Fremantle at Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Triumphant: Saint Stephen Milne. Photo: Getty Images
Milne was charged with four counts of rape in June.
The charges relate to an alleged incident in 2004 and Milne was bailed to reappear before the Melbourne Magistrates Court in September.
Star midfielder Lenny Hayes announced on Sunday he will continue on next season.
Koschitzke, who remains on 199 matches, will have to show his fitness leading up to team selection on Thursday.
Watters said the club would follow its usual practice for assessing player fitness and making team selections although he didn't rule out Koschitzke getting extra time to prove his fitness.
''I'm the easy one to get past, getting past our medical staff can be challenging at times,'' Watters said.
''He has to be able to play, everyone at the club would like him to get to his 200th game but we have to make sure we get the level of performance required of everyone who takes the field for this club.
''We will assess it the same as we do every week, Kosi is building towards playing and he got good volume in this [past] week at training. We will have to assess that as we go through the week.''
Koschitzke was drafted by the Saints with the No.2 pick in the 2000 draft and has spent his whole career in Saints colours.
Watters praised all three retiring players for their contribution to club life and to developing young teammates saying Koschitzke had worked hard with emerging forward Tom Lee while Milne had showed plenty of his tricks to younger small forwards.
Watters said Milne would rank among the ''upper echelon'' of small forwards and was now making room for younger players to come through.
''Statistically he stands among the top echelon,'' Watters said.
''But what the statistics don't show you is his impact around the football club, he is one of those players who makes training a better place and the players love playing with him.''
Milne kicked four goals on Sunday taking his career tally to 572 goals from 274 matches.
Hayes urged his teammates to put on a stirring final performance for their departing veterans while Watters said he wanted a big crowd of Saints supporters to come to the match and pay tribute.
''We expect an enormous amount of supporters to come out and celebrate what they have done,'' Watters said.
The Saints have stated their intention to be active in free agency and trading to add more defenders and forward talent.