MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 25: Nick Riewoldt of the Saints issues instructions during the round 14 AFL match between the St Kilda Saints and the Geelong Cats at Etihad Stadium on June 25, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Saints set for new skipper in 2017

St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt will hand over the captaincy at the end of the season, coach Alan Richardson has confirmed.

“From a leadership point of view, for our club to grow, it’s time for someone else to take that mantle and be our next captain,” Richardson said on Friday.

“And we need ‘Rooey’ to support that and not only has he supported that he’s also been driving that.”

“There’s quite a number of impressive people – it’s not that there’s (just one) person there, it’s that there’s a number of people there (in contention).

“And they’re not going to be Nick Riewoldt straight away – there’s not too many that are – and we think that while Nick’s still playing it’s important to have him supporting whoever that next person is.

“Nick is of the same opinion – he’s been incredibly selfless in that space.”

At the end of this season, Riewoldt will have captained the Saints in 220 matches, six less than the longest serving captain of all time, Stephen Kernahan.

Riewoldt signed a one-year contract extension to play on in 2017 earlier this season.