Star Saint backs AFL captaincy switch

St Kilda veteran Leigh Montagna believes the time might be right for teammate Nick Riewoldt to hand the Saints’ AFL captaincy to a younger player next season.

Riewoldt, 33, has captained the club for 212 of his 311 AFL games, joining Footscray legend Ted Whitten in equal-third on the all-time list of matches as a captain at the weekend.

The star forward recently signed a new one-year deal to play on next season and could overtake Carlton’s Stephen Kernahan (226 games) as the longest-serving skipper in history if he stays in the role.

“It will be interesting to see what happens next year with him … I (don’t) think that’s been decided yet,” Montagna told Seven’s Game Day on Sunday.

“I probably think it’s been in the works for a couple of years that there will be a handover, a succession, and it might be next year.

“That will be a discussion between Nick and the club, but I think Nick would probably like to hand it over at some stage.

“We’ve needed him over the last few years but I think now as the group starts to mature a little bit more we can probably hand over that baton while Nick still plays.”

Montagna cited Jarryn Geary and David Armitage, both 28-year-olds, as possible candidates for the job, with Jack Steven (26) or Jack Newnes (23) good options if the club wants to go for a younger captain.

Montagna is confident the Saints’ next onfield leader will take over a team on the up, which he feels is a good chance to be further bolstered by off-season acquisitions.

“We’re certainly in a position now to be able to go and get some more key players from other clubs and lure some free agents,” he said.

“I think we’re more of an attractive proposition than we were a few years ago.

“Certainly we’re playing much better football and we can see that finals are closer than they were a few years ago (and) the move back to Moorabbin will help entice some players from other clubs.

“Hopefully we can lure a big name whether it is a Dion Prestia or a Jaeger O’Meara (both from Gold Coast) or (Brisbane’s) Tom Rockliff … someone like that will certainly add to the team.”

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