Lenny Hayes grew up in Sydney where he lived with parents Elizabeth and Chris, brother Duncan and sisters El and Gill. Hayes enjoyed most sports as a young boy, but he quickly grew to love AFL playing for the Pennant Hills Demons in the local junior competition where he caught the eye of talent scouts for TAC Cup side the NSW/ACT Rams.
Hayes won the Morrish Medal as the TAC Cup’s best and fairest player in 1998 and was picked by St Kilda at No.11 in the 1999 national draft. He made his senior debut against North Melbourne at the SCG in round five of the 1999 season and played regularly for the Saints in his early years as he made the transition from half-forward flanker to onballer.
In that role he quickly earned respect for the hard-nosed approach and tireless work ethic that saw him win the first of three Trevor Barker Medals in 2003. Hayes was named in the All-Australian side the same year and went on to earn that honour again in 2005 and 2009.
He captained the club in 2004 when the Saints won the pre-season premiership and reached a preliminary final then was co-captain in 2007 with good friends Nick Riewoldt and Luke Ball. A noted big game player, Hayes was awarded the Norm Smith Medal for his outstanding performance in the 2010 drawn grand final against Collingwood.
He is married to Tara, who gave birth to the couple’s first child, Hunter, in 2013.