ST KILDA midfielder Jack Steven has embraced the message from his teammates to step up and join the leadership group, his coach Alan Richardson says.
Steven wasn't voted in by his teammates but the club's leaders, including Richardson and football manager Jamie Cox, decided the two-time Trevor Barker medallist needed to be included.
St Kilda’s leadership group is decided by a vote from the whole playing squad.
Steven - one of St Kilda’s best players but also one of its quietest - wasn’t initially selected but the leadership group, in conjunction with Richardson and Cox, asked Steven to officially become a leader.
Captain Nick Riewoldt said Steven needed to assume that responsibility.
"The really encouraging part about … the conversations with Jack was he wanted to know why was it important for him to come into the group," Riewoldt said.
"I think he understands the influence he has over the rest of the playing group."
Steven emerged as one of the competition’s best midfielders in 2015 - he led the competition in inside-50s per game and was fifth in tackles per match.
Riewoldt touted Steven as a potential future captain.
"Jack Steven has been our best player for a few years now and is a really influential guy around the group," he said.
"I’m sure as his leadership grows he can see himself transitioning into (the captaincy)."
The 25-year-old is the reigning best-and-fairest and won his first in 2013. He is contracted until the end of 2020.
His coach said the dynamic midfielder led by example.
"(Steven) has such an influence around our playing group. He is his own man. He leads absolutely by example," Richardson said.
"There’s no-one better in our footy club in terms of the enthusiasm and the passion and the drive in which he plays the game, and in the way he trains."
The high esteem in which Steven is held by his teammates helped convince him that he could be effective in a leadership position.
"I love the St Kilda footy club and it’s an honour to represent them in a leadership capacity," Steven said.
"Obviously I can develop in (some) areas but the way I’ve been playing lately really represents the footy club in a good way."