St Kilda coach Alan Richardson has described newly appointed leadership group member Jack Steven as the most passionate player at Linen House Centre.
The reigning Trevor Barker Award winner is the only addition to last year’s leadership structure, joining Captain Nick Riewoldt, Leigh Montagna, Sean Dempster, David Armitage, Jarryn Geary, Jack Newnes and Maverick Weller.
On the back of a career defining season, where he not only won his second best and fairest, but also signed a five-year contract extension that ties him to the Saints until the end of 2020, Steven’s elevation to the leadership group is indicative of his status within the four walls of the football club.
“Jack’s one of those guys that’s really incredibly enthusiastic and passionate,” Richardson told Melbourne radio station SEN on Tuesday morning following St Kilda’s 2016 leadership group announcement.
“There’s probably no one at our footy club who gives greater effort on game day – he’s unbelievable Jack. He ticks a lot of boxes.
“He’s not the person to get up and sell the footy club at this stage. That sort of stuff makes him a bit anxious.
“But he’s a terrific person; he’s just committed to our footy club for a further five years. He’s a real Saints man, we love the way he goes about it.
With Riewoldt in the twilight of his decorated career, Richardson suggested that all members of the leadership group will receive development opportunities across this season to help prepare the club for life after the star forward.
“This is probably Nick’s last year; he’s still a brilliant leader and an obvious leader for us. (But) someone does need to step up,” Richardson said.
“Guys will get opportunities, just through experience and exposure to the group, but there will be a more structured program that underpins all that, that we’ll use to expose our leaders to identify their weaknesses.
“If we were to do an audit on their leadership style, and find that they’re not good in a certain area, they’ll get an opportunity to improve it.”
"I love the St Kilda footy club and it's a honour to be part of the leadership group" - Jack Steven— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) February 8, 2016