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Canberra camp to fast-track Saints' next generation of leaders

Jennifer Phelan  November 13, 2014 8:20 PM

AFL 2014 Rd 14 - St Kilda v West Coast

Jack Steven will join the young Saints on a four-day leadership camp in Canberra

It's a bit of everything. It's designed to get them out of their comfort zone
ST KILDA'S youngsters will face four days of mystery challenges designed to put them all under pressure when they arrive in Canberra on Friday. 

The Saints' first-to-fourth-year players, as well as Jack Steven and Shane Savage, will embark on a four-day emerging leaders camp before the rest of the list returns next week. 

The players will largely be left in the dark about what kind of physical and mental obstacles await them. 

Coach Alan Richardson, who will attend the camp, said he was looking forward to understanding more about his young players' leadership skills during the course of the camp.  

"There's a bit of unknown about [the schedule]. They've been given a little bit of information and I'm not sure if that information is absolutely correct," Richardson told AFL.com.au on Thursday. 

"It's a bit of everything. It's designed to get them out of their comfort zone.

"One thing we know in footy and life is you find out a lot more about people under pressure and that's the intent of the camp; to put them under pressure to see how they respond, and then to debrief.

"It will be a great opportunity for them to grow and get feedback on their leadership and potentially put in some plans around that."

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It is believed the players will work with members of the military, as well as people at the Australian Institute of Sport. 

The Saints' Leading Teams process will also be touched on. 

Steven and Savage, who were drafted in 2007 and 2008 respectively, will head to the camp to develop their own leadership skills, despite falling outside the age group of the rest of the attendees. 

Steven, the 2013 best and fairest winner, will look to capitalise on the strides he made this season, as well as speaking up more among the group.    

Richardson said it was crucial the next generation of Saints started to rise as leaders, as the club's older players continued to move into retirement. 

"Jack was involved in our leadership group this year, not necessarily as an official leader but he was involved," he said. 

"We think those two guys have a fair bit to offer our footy club. 

"We know that 'Rooey' has been enormous and obviously Lenny (Hayes) is not with us anymore. (Sean) Dempster, (Jarryn) Geary, (David) Armitage, (Sam) Gilbert, (Farren) Ray … we've got some good strong leaders who are not only performing well but setting a great example to our younger blokes on and off the track.

"They've been public about the legacy they want to leave [their teammates] and give them the opportunity to have success but we do need to make sure we're proactive in the guys coming through and that's what the camp is about.

"What I'm trying to get out of it is, who needs a bit of work in this area and needs to be stronger with the way he communicates, needs to be able to challenge his teammates and be more positive in all of those areas."

New Saint Tim Membrey will head to Canberra after joining the club as a delisted free agent earlier this month. 

But former Gold Coast defender Jeremy Taylor and ex-Adelaide pair Jared Petrenko and Shaun McKernan – who are training with the club – will stay in Melbourne.