GIANTS assistant coach and triple St Kilda Trevor Barker Medallist Lenny Hayes has been inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.
Hayes, who was raised in the Sydney suburb of Eastwood, played his junior football for Pennant Hills before being selected by St Kilda with pick 11 in the 1998 national draft.
The strong-bodied midfielder went on to play 297 career games for the Saints between 1999 and 2014.
After 12 months working at the AFL and in the media, Hayes joined the GIANTS as an assistant coach ahead of the 2016 season and is now in his fifth year at the club.
During his time at St Kilda, Hayes became one of the league’s most respected players for the way he carried himself both on and off the field.
Three times (2003, 2010 and 2012) Hayes was named the Trevor Barker Medallist as St Kilda’s best and fairest and in 2010 he also received the North Smith Medal in the drawn Grand Final against Collingwood.
He captained St Kilda in 2004 and again as a joint captain in 2007, and was named in the All Australian team on three occasions (2004, 2005 and 2009).
Since returning to Sydney at the end of 2015, Hayes has played a key role as part of Leon Cameron’s coaching group which has won a final in each of the club’s four September appearances.
In his role as midfield coach, Hayes has overseen the development and mentored of some of the AFL’s best midfielders including Stephen Coniglio, Josh Kelly, Callan Ward, Jacob Hopper and Tim Taranto.
With the traditional Hall of Fame Induction ceremony on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hayes was inducted on Monday night in a special presentation on Fox Footy.
AFL Commission Chairman Mr Richard Goyder said it was appropriate the names of this year’s inductees should be made public to acknowledge their achievement, and a formal induction ceremony will be held in the coming months.
“At this time, the football community has been prevented from celebrating our game on-field through the 2020 year as our nation combines to combat the Covid-19 epidemic,” Mr Goyder said.
“Across our country, in every community, we have badly missed the game we love but the time we have spent reminding ourselves of our favourite memories of our past heroes allows us to acknowledge those greats who have built our game.
“This year, the Hall of Fame welcomes six new members whose careers live large among all those who were privileged to watch them play, and one member who has done so much to build the profile of our game nationally.
“On behalf of the AFL Commission, our 18 clubs, our state leagues and the football community across Australia, I congratulate our new Hall of Fame members and thank them for their role in establishing our game’s foundations.
“In time, each will be formally welcomed to the Hall of Fame in front of their peers but it is appropriate we celebrate them now for the honour bestowed upon them.”
Over the next three nights on Fox Footy, two more inductees will be named per night respectively on June 2, June 3 and June 4.
Hayes was announced as the first of the seven general inductees this year, and he was elevated on his first year of eligibility. His career record is detailed below.
- Played 297 games and scored 95 goals for St Kilda: 1999-2014
- Club captain: 2004, 2007 (joint)
- Club Best & Fairest: 2003, 2010, 2012
- Norm Smith Medallist: 2010
- All Australian: 2003, 2005, 2009
- Pre-Season Premiership: 2004, 2008
- International Rules Representative: 2003
- Madden Medallist: 2014