Jack Steele will join Jarryn Geary as co-captain of St Kilda Football Club in 2021.
The 25-year-old All Australian joins esteemed clubman Geary at the helm of a seven-man leadership group, which features newly minted vice-captains Dougal Howard and Tim Membrey, as well as Seb Ross, Jack Billings and Callum Wilkie.
This will be Geary’s fifth year as captain, but it marks Steele’s first official leadership role at the club.
“I’m really grateful to have been given this honour, it’s a true privilege,” Steele said.
“When you walk through the Hall of Fame at RSEA Park and see names like Frawley, Harvey, Barker and Baldock, it’s really humbling to now be continuing their legacy.
“To have Gears alongside me is also really special. He’s really taken me under his wing, and I’ve learned so much from him since joining the club. His leadership is second to none, not just his voice on-field, but also how he rallies the group off it.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to learn from him, while also getting stuck into all the responsibilities of being an AFL captain.”
Steele’s appointment to the captaincy mantle didn’t surprise Geary, who has taken particular interest in the midfielder’s leadership development.
“Jack and I have caught up quite regularly over the past few years to talk about his role as a leader among the group,” Geary said.
Geary said Steele’s appointment embodies the progression of the playing group as a whole, with the average games played by the leadership group just 112.
“When I started at the club, we had established leaders like Nick Riewoldt, Robert Harvey and Leigh Montagna filling these roles,” Geary said.
“Now to have someone like Callum Wilkie in the leadership group after being recruited as a mature-aged rookie and playing less than 50 games, it shows that the next generation of Saints are ready to make this team their own.
“Saints fans should be really excited - I know I am.”
Senior Coach Brett Ratten lauded Geary’s experience and said the formation of the new leadership group was the culmination of months of work.
“We’ve had a real focus on connection and communication for a long time now,” Ratten said.
“With such a young group, we’re really trying to get everyone on the same page, because a lot of these guys will hopefully be with the club for the next five to ten years.
“Jarryn has been huge, as has David Rath and Jarryd Roughead, in really driving our values and standards among the players.
“He’s been a fantastic captain for many years, and the fact he was voted in again is testament to how his teammates feel about him.
“The addition of Jack is a nice balance, and it really shows the direction this group is heading moving forward, which is really exciting.”
The leadership group was decided following a vote of the playing group and broader football department. From there, the leadership group and senior football department staff took a captaincy recommendation to the Board, with the result finalised following a ratification process.