St Kilda speedster and reigning Trevor Barker Award winner, Jack Steven, has been elevated into the club’s extended eight-man leadership group.
The 25-year-old (he turns 26 in March) joins fellow young guns Mav Weller and Jack Newnes alongside Captain Nick Riewoldt and seasoned campaigners Leigh Montagna, Sean Dempster, Jarryn Geary and David Armitage. He is the only change in the group from 2015.
“It’s both an honour and a big challenge to be named in the leadership group for the first time – I am very keen to help drive our young list,” he said.
“I really love the spirit in this playing group and people would have seen that on show last season.
“This group really has a crack and doesn’t give in and, as a leadership group, we need to make sure people keep improving. We took a step in the right direction last season but we need to keep getting better.”
Senior Coach Alan Richardson said the 2016 leadership group had a good mix of players.
“Last year Mav Weller and Jack Newnes were voted into the leadership group for the first time and it’s great to see another younger player given this opportunity in Jack Steven,” Richardson said.
“Jack is an up and coming leader and it’s good to see the young guys being recognised.
“There is a need to continually evolve and see younger players introduced to leadership responsibilities and Jack’s influence on the playing group as a leader has become really significant.”
Richardson said a good example of Steven’s leadership was in the dying seconds of last year’s thriller against the Demons.
“He’d had a quiet day but kept a positive, attacking attitude and created two important touches in the last passage of play to basically win us the game,” he said.
“That really sets a standard for the playing group to follow and is just so important.”