HOBART, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 22: Jack Steele of the Saints leads the team out during the 2021 AFL Round 23 match between the St Kilda Saints and the Fremantle Dockers at Blundstone Arena on August 22, 2021 in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Grant Viney/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

St Kilda have appointed Jack Steele as the sole captain of the club for the 2022 season, with the star midfielder set to front a five-man leadership group.

Steele, who joined Jarryn Geary as co-captain last year, will be accompanied by co-vice-captains Dougal Howard and Tim Membrey, with defender Callum Wilkie and Geary also part of the captaincy cohort.

The honour of captain of St Kilda adds to a decorated past 24 months for Steele, who has claimed successive All-Australian and best and fairest honours.

The 26-year-old expressed his gratitude to be recognised as the club's new leader ahead of the new season.

“I’m incredibly proud to be voted in as captain – it means the world to me,” Steele said.

“I love this footy club and I couldn’t feel more honoured to hold this position.

“Holding the role by myself this year will be a challenge, but one I feel I’m ready to face thanks to the support of so many great people around me, especially Jarryn.

“Jarryn has been a massive influence on me since I walked into the club and his guidance and support has been invaluable these past few years. I wouldn’t be standing where I am today if it wasn’t for him, and I look forward to learning more from him and others throughout the year.”

The Saints will enter their maiden season under Steele's leadership looking to return to finals contention, having amassed a 10-12 record last year for a 10th place return.

Saints coach Brett Ratten commended both Steele and Geary, with the former having been voted into the position by his peers and the club's football department.

“We all saw it last year, but the way Jack was able to lead by example and bring his teammates along with him was outstanding,” Ratten said.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 02: Jack Steele of the Saints
handballs during the 2019 JLT Community Series AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the St Kilda Saints at Avalon Airport Oval on March 02, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

“Although he was forced to lead the side on his own in Jarryn’s absence, he really shouldered the responsibility without taking a backwards step.

“Even now at training we’re seeing that confidence continue to manifest - he’s vocal on the track, is demanding more of his teammates and is ruthless in his pursuit to improve both personally and collectively.”

Membrey and Howard have remained as co-captains, while midfield duo Seb Ross and Jack Billings weren't continued in their roles among the contingent.

“Seb and Jack remain very important leaders for our group, albeit this year it won’t be in an official capacity,” Ratten added.

St Kilda will open their 2022 AFL premiership season against Collingwood on Friday, March 18 at Marvel Stadium.