Star onballer Steven the top Saint

On the night Nick Riewoldt officially stood down as St Kilda captain, midfielder Jack Steven strengthened his case to become the club’s next skipper with his third best-and-fairest award.

Steven, who won the Trevor Barker Award in 2013 and 2015, finished ahead of Jarryn Geary in second and Riewoldt in third at the season-ending award ceremony at Crown Casino on Thursday night.

Fellow leadership aspirants David Armitage and Jack Newnes also finished in the top 10.

Riewoldt is the Saints’ longest-serving skipper, having led the club on 220 occasions since 2005 and gave up the opportunity to surpass Carlton’s Stephen Kernahan as the longest-serving skipper in AFL history.

“In the interest of the footy club, it’s the right time for me to step aside to give a new player the opportunity to lead,” Riewoldt said.

“It has been my absolute privilege and honour to captain St Kilda for the past 11 years.

“I’ve experienced a great deal in my tenure as captain and I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to achieve as a group.”

Steven was one of five players not to miss a natch in 2016 and averaged 28 possessions a game.

The Saints will undertake a thorough process to find their next leadership group and captain, which will be named early next year.

“Whether he’s captain or not, Nick will always be a significant leader for our footy club and someone who will drive standards and set an outstanding example for our younger players,” coach Alan Richardson said.

“It will be incredibly beneficial for the next captain to have Nick there to support them if need be, as his wealth of experience and knowledge in this space is so impressive.” Trevor Barker Award top 10 1. Jack Steven 172 votes 2. Jarryn Geary 157 3. Nick Riewoldt 153 4. Leigh Montagna 127 5. Jack Newnes 125 6. Seb Ross 122 7. Maverick Weller 117 8. Tom Hickey 102 9. Tim Membrey 99 10. Sean Dempster, David Armitage 96

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