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Two ex-Swans in five-man Saints leadership group

Role change could unlock Saint's potential Dinny Navaratnam and Mitch Cleary bring you an update on the Saints' pre-season

PRIZED St Kilda recruit Dan Hannebery has been included in the club's leadership group, while four-time best and fairest Jack Steven and wingman Jack Newnes have been left out.

Defender Jarryn Geary will captain the Saints for a third straight season.

In a departure from recent years when there has been no vice-captain, Seb Ross has been appointed as Geary's deputy.

Rounding out the five-man leadership group are returning defender Dylan Roberton, who missed nearly all of 2018 with a heart problem, and forward Tim Membrey.

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Hannebery expects to play round one against Gold Coast at Marvel Stadium on Sunday, March 24, after recent hamstring soreness, but that isn't a certainty.

"That's the plan. If I come up short, I come up short, but at this stage I'm confident I'll be right," Hannebery said at RSEA Park.

"Having said that though, it's not about shortcutting sessions to get right for round one. There's 22 rounds in the year and I think in previous years, people get caught up in round one and making sure they rush to get right. I'm pretty confident I will be."

Membrey, 24, wasn't included in the official leadership group at the start of last season but sat in on meetings later in the campaign.

Coach Alan Richardson had praise for the two former Swans.

"Tim has been particularly impressive in how he has grown as a leader of our footy club," Richardson said.

"He represents an important age bracket of players who are hungry to take the next step and build a solid foundation for what we as a team wish to stand for.

"Dan, on the other hand, is an extremely experienced leader who has had immediate impact since joining us late last year. 

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"Having a player with such strong football knowledge, who is also so generous in the time he gives to his teammates, is a real asset to the football club."

Newnes struggled last year after a preparation interrupted by knee surgery, while Steven trails only Saints champion Nick Riewoldt for the most Trevor Barker Awards, with the goalkicking great having won six times.

"Jack and Jack lead through their actions both on and off the field," Richardson said.

"While they will not play an official leadership role this year, their influence on the group is still really strong and I have no doubt that will continue.”

Geary, 30, is well respected at Moorabbin and despite a difficult 2018 that saw just four wins, he didn't consider giving the role up.

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"Last year was tough, it was tough for everyone (but) it inspired me to want to do it again, to do something about it," Geary said.

"It was an ordinary year and it wouldn't have been something that I wanted to hand over to someone else and just say, it's your responsibility. It's something I want to do something about.

"I can't do it myself (though). I've obviously got four really strong leaders who are going to help me drive the footy club."

He was also behind the move to install a vice-captain, as Ross explained.

"I think that might have come more from 'Gears', just to have someone in an official role, so there's no real umming and ahhing if he wasn't able to play or able to fulfil his role, there was no real question about who was able to step into that role," Ross said.

While it seems the natural path is for him to eventually becoming skipper, Ross said he hadn't given it too much though yet.

"It's not something I put too much time into thinking about but probably a bit like Gears, it would be a huge honour," Ross said.

"It's not something I'm really striving for, I'm just really enjoying playing footy with the boys."