King to wear Riewoldt’s iconic No.12 at St Kilda
St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt has passed on his iconic No.12 to top AFL draft pick Max King.
Riewoldt personally presented the guernsey to King, a lifelong Saints fan who grew up idolising the Saints captain.
It is a handover rich with symbolism for St Kilda.
Riewoldt wore No.12 throughout his storied 336-game AFL career and when he retired at the end of the 2017 season, so was the number.
He is the longest-serving captain in club history and one of St Kilda's greatest players.
The Saints recruited King with their first pick at No.4 in the national draft and like Riewoldt, he is a key position player.
They had never met until Monday and Riewoldt said it was important to him that he hand over the guernsey in person.
"Presenting him with his first No.12 guernsey was a really special moment, and I hope he enjoys playing in it as much as I did and makes it his own," Riewoldt said.
"I'm thrilled to be passing the number on to Max.
"It's pretty clear to see that he's an impressive young man with incredible potential both on and off the field."
King is recovering from a knee reconstruction and, like Riewoldt, will have an interrupted start to his AFL career.
"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," Riewoldt said.
"I had a few injuries 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."
King was stunned by the honour.
"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," King said.
"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."
Fellow draftee Jack Bytel will wear No.23, made famous by Justin Koschitzke and Stewart Loewe.
Nick Coffield has switched from No.33 to No.1, while star Sydney recruit Dan Hannebery will wear No.10.