Saints likely to stick with Geary as skipper

St Kilda are likely to stick with Jarryn Geary as captain for 2019, with the veteran favoured to retain the on-field leadership when the Saints formally appoint their leaders this month.

While Geary lacks the profile and star status of his predecessor Nick Riewoldt, the Saints believe he has been a strong leader of the playing group and the likelihood is that there will be no change in the captaincy.

Jarryn Geary.Credit:AAP

Seb Ross is the only other senior player viewed as a viable option for the captaincy. The Saints are not inclined to appoint co-captains, as Adelaide and Carlton have for 2019, joining Melbourne as clubs with joint leaders of the playing group.

Jack Steven, arguably the club’s most dynamic player, is not certain to be part of the new leadership group.

Steven, while an inspiring player, is understood to be less keen on team meetings and other off-field obligations that come with formal leadership roles.

But the club’s most decorated recruit, Dan Hannebery, could be brought in to the leadership group, which consisted of Geary, Ross, Steven, Jack Newnes and Dylan Roberton in 2018.

The likely reappointment of Geary as a stand-alone skipper for a third season reflects the reality that the Saints have not had an early-to-mid-20s player emerge as captaincy material, in the manner of Jack Viney and Patrick Cripps, who are co-captains at Melbourne and Carlton respectively.

Forward Tim Membrey, 24, is one player in that mid-20s age bracket who is considered to have shown leadership potential.

The Saints will go on a pre-season camp next week and are expected to deal with the leadership question shortly after their return.

Geary was appointed skipper for the 2017 season, for what was Riewoldt’s last year as a player.

Recruit Jack Bytel will have surgery in coming days to repair a bulging disc in his lower back.

Football manager Simon Lethlean said the club was aware of the likelihood of surgery when they drafted him with pick 41 at the national draft.

The major change at Moorabbin has been at board level, with Andrew Bassat, the wealthy co-founder of successful online job search company Seek, taking over the presidency from Peter Summers.

Bassat is expected to place a heavier emphasis on football.

While the Saints have a debt of more than $10 million, their poor on-field results last year meant they were unable to take advantage of the greatly improved financial returns at what is now Marvel Stadium.

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