TOUGH St Kilda defender Jarryn Geary will be the club's new captain.

Geary took over the role from Nick Riewoldt, who was skipper for 220 games. That tally ranks Riewoldt third on the all-time list for most VFL/AFL games captained, behind Carlton's Stephen Kernahan (226) and Essendon's Dick Reynolds (224). 

Riewoldt, Leigh Montagna, Sean Dempster and Sam Gilbert took themselves out of contention for the leadership group, and thus the captaincy. Those players, known as the 'four elders', make up the Saints' over-30 contingent.

"Before that vote, Montagna, Riewoldt, Gilbert and Dempster got up and said 'Don't vote for us, we're out. Time for you blokes to drive it. We think you're ready'," coach Alan Richardson told

Riewoldt, Montagna and Dempster were long-serving members of the club's leadership group, while Gilbert was not.

Midfielder Seb Ross, Dylan Roberton and Josh Bruce are St Kilda's newest official leaders. They join Geary, Jack Steven, David Armitage, Jack Newnes and Maverick Weller.

"If we had six players who got lots of votes and then there was a gap, we'd have six (in the leadership group). As it turned out, we had eight, because those guys were voted in really strongly," Richardson said.

After the leadership group was decided, Richardson met with football manager Jamie Cox, director of coaching Danny Sexton and the 'four elders' to decide on the captaincy.

"They all spoke and it was pretty clear that Jarryn is the most complete of a pretty impressive group," Richardson said.

"Last year we got to see David Armitage and Jack Steven lead the group in 'Rooey's' absence and they did a really good job. Geary had done the same.

"But it was good to have three new players in the group, give their opinions, but (Geary) is the one who's the most complete in terms of what's important at our footy club."

Performance was part of the assessment.

"You don't have to be the best player but you have to be a strong performer, someone who's respected for how he plays and is a really impressive performer in his role," he said.

Geary, 28, had a career-best season in 2016. He finished second in the best and fairest behind Steven and missed just one game for the season.

He was picked up in the 2006 rookie draft at No. 58. Despite playing a combined 34 games in the Saints' Grand Final years of 2009 and 2010, he missed out on taking part in either of those finals campaigns.

Riewoldt officially stepped down from the captaincy at the club's best and fairest night last September. 

Despite putting together another fine season and finishing third in the Trevor Barker Award, Riewoldt said the time was right for him to hand over the leadership position he held for 11 years in total.