St Kilda are officially looking for a new captain with coach Alan Richardson confirming long-serving Nick Riewoldt will step down at the end of the season.
Assuming he plays the final two rounds, Riewoldt will hand over the reins having captained the club in 220 matches – just six fewer than the AFL’s longest-serving skipper of all time, Carlton’s Stephen Kernahan.
The 33-year-old has previously spoken of his desire to mentor a younger onfield leader while still playing and Richardson confirmed on Friday the club would head in that direction.
“From a leadership point of view, for our club to grow, it’s time for someone else to take that mantle and be our next captain,” he said.
“And we need Rooey to support that and not only has he supported that he’s also been driving that.”
Riewoldt signed a contract extension to play on next season earlier this year.
Jack Steven, Jarryn Geary and David Armitage are considered leading candidates to take over but Richardson wouldn’t be drawn on the likely successor.
“There’s quite a number of impressive people – it’s not that there’s (just one) person there, it’s that there’s a number of people there (in contention),” he said.
“And they’re not going to be Nick Riewoldt straight away – there’s not too many that are – and we think that while Nick’s still playing it’s important to have him supporting whoever that next person is.
“Nick is of the same opinion – he’s been incredibly selfless in that space.”
A new skipper won’t be announced until the eve of the club’s practice game campaign next year.
The Saints take on Richmond at the MCG on Saturday, with Jason Holmes, Jack Lonie and Geary added to the side beaten by Sydney.
Darren Minchington was dropped, while Sam Fisher (hamstring) and Tom Hickey (calf) were injured against the Swans.
Richardson admits it’s unlikely Hickey will play again this season but says Fisher is a chance to make it back for round 23.