Jarryn Geary says he doesn’t ever think he’ll get used to the tag of AFL captain.
“It doesn’t sit very comfortably,” he said on Wednesday.
But it’s one he will have to get used to after St Kilda tapped him to succeed long-term on-field leader Nick Riewoldt.
Not since 2007 have the Saints anointed a new leader, and for many, Geary is a left-field choice.
Unlike Wednesday’s other captaincy announcement – Carlton endorsing Marc Murphy for a fifth year as skipper – Geary isn’t an obvious choice as captain to those outside the club.
He was however unanimously endorsed by St Kilda’s playing group, coaches and board for the role, and senior coach Alan Richardson was full of praise for him.
“We like who he is as a fella and we think he plays the right way. He sets a great example and he’ll be really strong for us … he has a strong edge to his leadership,” he said.
“We won more games of footy than we lost (last year)and he was runner up in our best and fairest.
“He plays the right way, he puts the team first.”
Geary said he was “humbled and honoured to be chosen”, accepting the role off the back of his team-mates’ strong vote.
“I wouldn’t have wanted to do it unless they wanted me to do it. They’ve given me heavy support so I’m really rapt,” he said.
“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.”
“No one rocks up thinking they’re going to be a captain of the footy club. I just wanted to forge my own way, work hard and that’s what I think I’ve done.
“I’m obviously really proud to be put in this position.”
At Princes Park, Murphy leads a seven-man leadership group that includes Bryce Gibbs despite his off-season plea to be traded to Adelaide.
Veteran Kade Simpson will be Murphy’s deputy.
Dennis Armfield is among the club’s leaders for the first time in his career, replacing retired forward Andrew Walker.
Patrick Cripps, Sam Docherty and Ed Curnow round out the leadership group.
Skipper Murphy managed 10 games last season after injuring his ankle, and has also had shoulder issues which have limited his impact over the years.
Coach Brenton Bolton backed the group to drive standards as the Blues attempt to play in their first finals series since 2013.
“In 2016, we set about building leadership density across our list,” Bolton said.
“This year, we are sticking to the roadmap and ensuring there is a consistent level of leadership across the board.
“With only one change to our leadership group for 2017, we are building on the foundations that were set last season.”