Jack Steele is primed for a huge 2022 on multiple fronts. (Photo: saints.com.au)

Jack Steele will assume the role of St Kilda captain on a sole basis in 2022, and he is ready to lead the Saints back into September.

After sharing the captaincy mantle with Saints stalwart Jarryn Geary throughout 2021, Jack Steele will take the role himself in 2022.

In his first year as St Kilda captain, the former Belconnen Magpies junior starred despite an overall drop in form from Brett Ratten’s team, collecting his second consecutive Trevor Barker Medal and second consecutive placing on in the top five in the Brownlow Medal.

With Geary relieving himself of captaincy duties going forward, Steele has wasted no time imprinting himself into the role that is now completely on his own accord, as he looks to help propel the Saints back into the top eight.

“It’s an exciting time and we’re looking forward to getting back to that 2020 form,” Steele told The Inner Sanctum at the AFL’s Captains Day at Marvel Stadium.

“The standards around the club are something I’ve had a real focus on, driving those standards around the club and making sure that we don’t get complacent no matter what position we’re in.

“I suppose that’s it really, we’ve lifted the standards and we’re trying to get back to a high standard of football, which will come off the back of that.

“I feel like I try and go out as per usual and lead from the front as I do, trying to drag as many blokes as I can with me. We’ll wait and see how we go.”

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The Saints are set to welcome both Jade Gresham and Ben Paton back to competitive action this year after both have experienced torrid luck with injuries in recent times.

Gresham looked irrepressible in the opening weeks of 2021 before a ruptured Achilles brought his campaign to a premature end, whilst Paton missed the entirety of the season after breaking his leg in the club’s intraclub hitout in February of last year.

“We had a lot of injuries, which is something you can’t really blame a lot of the time,” he said

“[Gresham] is a player that can win a match off his own boot, and we’ve seen that before.

“I’m very excited for someone like ‘Gresh’ to be back in our side, Ben Paton as well who provided a lot for us in 2020 in the back pocket.

“Having those sorts of players, plus hopefully a healthy Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall throughout most of the year will be great for us and our belief and trust, very exciting times.”

Despite the fact that Geary, who took over the captaincy role from Nick Riewoldt following his retirement in 2016, will take a step back for the forthcoming season, Steele is confident that the veteran will regardless play a huge role in terms of player development going forward.

“He’ll be great for me and the rest of the group in terms of his leadership.

“He is still going to be there to support me, as well as the rest of our leadership group and the leadership team, including people like ‘Ratts’ and Jarryd Roughead, and a few others.

“I’ve got a lot of people to bounce off, I’m still feeling like I have a lot of support which is very important, but ‘Gears’ is going to be quite special for the next stage of development for our young players.

“Hopefully, he can get his body right and concentrate on himself a bit more and get on the park and play a few more games for us.”

Steele’s Saints will see their 2022 season commence against Victorian powerhouse Collingwood under the Friday night lights at Docklands, a game that promises to be a mouthwatering clash that has the potential to set up his club’s season should they take the four points.

“There’s always a bit of nerves after getting through the preseason games, but we’re looking forward to Round One and what that holds for us.

“For us, we feel that it’s pretty important to get a win here on Friday night against the Pies here at Marvel Stadium, but we still have a couple of weeks until that, so plenty of work to do before then.

St Kilda will start their season against Collingwood on the 17th of March at Marvel Stadium.

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