EXCITING St Kilda draftee Max King has been awarded the "unimaginable" honour of inheriting the number made famous by his idol, Saints great Nick Riewoldt.
To add to the surreal nature of the experience for the promising 204cm forward, Riewoldt returned from an extended stay with his in-laws in Texas to present his old No.12 guernsey to King in person on Monday night.
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Riewoldt, the longest-serving captain in St Kilda's history, made the number his own during a distinguished 336-game career that ended in 2017.
"I'm thrilled to be passing the number on to Max," Riewoldt told the club website of the No.4 pick, who is on the comeback trail from a knee reconstruction.
"It's pretty clear to see that he's an impressive young man with incredible potential both on and off the field.
“I hope he enjoys playing in it as much as I did.”— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) December 17, 2018
A picture is worth a thousand words. pic.twitter.com/tUrhcr0ooU
"In what has been a pretty tough year for him, he's tackled his rehab with complete professionalism and I know the club has been really happy with how he’s been tracking.
"I had a few injury concerns in my first season. The club was conservative and did the best thing for me long-term, which worked out pretty well in the end.
"Presenting him with his first No.12 was a really special moment, and I hope he enjoys playing in it as much as I did and makes it his own."
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Lifelong Saints fan King could scarcely believe what had happened.
"I've literally dreamt about this moment for as long as I can remember," King said.
"To be picked up by the Saints a few weeks ago was incredible, but to be given the jumper by Nick himself is just unimaginable.
"If I can have half the career he had I'll be happy. I hope I can do Nick, the club and the supporters proud."
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Fellow newcomer Jack Bytel has been handed No.23, previously worn by Stewart Loewe and Riewoldt's teammate Justin Koschitzke, while Matthew Parker will don No.34, Nick Hind No.40 and Robbie Young No.41.
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Former goalsneak Stephen Milne's old No.44 has been given to mature-age rookie Callum Wilkie, while ex-Swan Dan Hannebery (10), former Demon Dean Kent (25) and ex-basketballer Sam Alabakis (45) had already received their numbers.
Among several number changes, Nick Coffield has been elevated to No.1, Rowan Marshall has assumed recently retired Sam Gilbert's No.19 and Ben Paton has taken Coffield's free No.33.
Nick Riewoldt presents Max King with the No. 12 ⚪️⚫️ pic.twitter.com/qzVRgoiU4w— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) December 17, 2018