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Hayes passes No.7 to Dunstan

Lenny's post-match speech Retiring great Lenny Hayes' stirring speech to players, staff and family after the final game of the 2014 season
Lenny Hayes has played an important mentoring role with Luke Dunstan this year.
LENNY Hayes has handed his famous number seven guernsey over to Luke Dunstan.

The now-retired champion, who played his 297th and final game on Sunday afternoon against Adelaide, made the gesture in the rooms after the match, continuing the number’s proud history at St Kilda.

Prior to Hayes, Nicky Winmar played 230 games wearing the number seven, booting 283 goals in a career that spanned 12 seasons at the club.

The Hayes to Dunstan handover is more than just a ceremonial one, with the 34-year-old having worked closely with his less-experienced teammate this year in a mentoring capacity.

Dunstan enjoyed a fairytale debut in Hayes’ absence in round one, collecting 21 disposals in St Kilda’s hard-fought victory over Melbourne. It was a performance that also earned the left-footer a Rising Star nomination, and highlighted the clear similarities between his game and Hayes’ renowned style.

Both players are fierce in the clinches, tackle relentlessly and possess a fleet-footed sidestep that makes up for their lack of raw pace.

They boast clean hands at ground level, excellent spatial awareness and a team-first mentality that makes them highly respected figures around the club.

Perhaps the only tangible difference between the two in regards to style of play, is the fact that Dunstan is left-footed and Hayes is right-footed.

Dunstan is seen as a future leader of the football club, while Hayes skippered the Saints in 2004 and 2007 before Nick Riewoldt took over the mantle in 2008.