St Kilda will unveil Jarryn Geary as its new captain in the coming days putting an official end to the Nick Riewoldt leadership era.
The 28-year-old former rookie has won the support of his teammates and coaches as the club prepares to ratify a transformed and relatively youthful leadership group which will not include Riewoldt.
Fairfax Media understands Riewoldt, 34, Leigh Montagna and Sean Dempster (both 33) all withdrew from contention when the players voted for this season’s new-look leaders effectively removing 43 years of playing experience from the leadership group.
While Geary’s promotion has yet to be ratified by the Saints’ board, that appears a formality. He has been seen by Riewoldt for several seasons as his heir apparent and was endorsed earlier this month by Montagna.
The other captaincy contenders included David Armitage, Maverick Weller and reigning club champion Jack Steven with Montagna also seen by coaches late last season as a potential outside chance to step up in the twilight of his career.
Riewoldt announced he was stepping down as captain at the club’s best and fairest count last year after 10 successive seasons. He also captained the Saints in 2005 as part of former coach Grant Thomas’s leadership rotation policy. A six-time Trevor Barker winner and five-time All-Australian, he captained the club for the 200th time at the start of last season.
Geary, while not boasting Riewoldt’s profile or playing reputation, has cemented himself in Alan Richardson’s best midfield line-up, finishing fifth and runner-up respectively in the 2015 and 2016 club championships. He stepped in for the injured Riewoldt last season.
An emergency in the Saints’ grand final teams of 2009 and 2010, Geary has signed on with the Saints until the end of 2018. Club chief Matt Finnis and his board are expected to sign off on his captaincy over the next week.