NICK Riewoldt will captain St Kilda for an eighth straight season as the club initiates a new leadership structure.

Riewoldt will be joined by Leigh Montagna, Nick Dal Santo, Ben McEvoy, James Gwilt, David Armitage, Sean Dempster and Jarryn Geary in the leadership group after Sam Fisher and Adam Schneider decided to step aside.

The Saints have begun a leadership development program that will have Lenny Hayes, Stephen Milne, Justin Koschitzke, Fisher, Schneider and Jason Blake supporting the leadership group.

Members of this group will also mentor players who are part of an emerging leaders group.

Coach Scott Watters said St Kilda was looking for a "critical mass" of leaders.

"We need to develop emerging leaders and so some of our most respected players will be involved in mentoring those who have been identified as possible future leaders," Watters said.

Fisher said he had enjoyed his seven years in the leadership group but now had to concentrate on other things.

"I missed eight games through injury last season. Over the summer, my commitment to the club was questioned in some quarters outside the club. While I don’t agree with it, I think the best thing for me is to concentrate on ensuring I deliver my best form," Fisher said.

St Kilda’s first intra-club match will be held at Seaford on February 9 and the club’s first NAB Cup matches are against Adelaide and Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium on February 17.