Riewoldt revved up to skipper Saints again

A re-energised Nick Riewoldt says he still has the passion to lead St Kilda for a record 11th AFL season.

The 33-year-old will captain his club for the 200th time in round one when they face Port Adelaide, becoming just the fifth AFL player to do so.

He will also play his 300th game in round two.

Riewoldt heads an eight-man leadership group that has one new addition, with Trevor Barker medallist Jack Steven elevated.

The pair join youngsters Mav Weller and Jack Newnes alongside seasoned campaigners Leigh Montagna, Sean Dempster, Jarryn Geary and David Armitage.

Steven, 25, was called up by the group who wanted their best player involved.

Riewoldt didn’t have to think twice about whether to continue in the role once he was told by coach Alan Richardson and the club they wanted him.

“Richo’s philosophy on leadership is that he wants the best leaders to keep leading,” he said.

“It’s a position I’ve got a lot of respect for and I know the responsibility that comes with it but I’m still as passionate as ever about my footy and about leading this group back up the ladder.”

Riewoldt said his body, including his troublesome knee, was feeling good and he may line up for a few pre-season matches.

“Getting away and freshening up mentally is as important as anything,” he said.

“Physically I feel really good and I’ve been able to train fully and could potentially play a few NAB Cup games which I haven’t been able to do the past few seasons so I feel in good shape.”

Riewoldt said there were plenty of players putting their hand up as his successor and while Steven said he didn’t enjoy the public side of the role, the captain felt he could grow into it.

The five-time All Australian said there was no firm date for his retirement and he could play beyond this season.

Richardson said it was clear Riewoldt was still the best man for the job.

“He continues to grow as a captain and still has a genuine hunger to lead,” Richardson said.

“Many people associated with the club believe 2015 was actually his best year in the role and I couldn’t argue with that.”

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