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Lenny: My Story

by Lenny Hayes

How did a skinny kid from the suburbs of Sydney go on to become one of the most universally respected figures in the AFL?

Lenny: My Story follows Lenny Hayes’ journey from North Rocks to St Kilda where he
played a key role in one of the most successful eras in the club’s rich history.

Over the course of Hayes’ celebrated 16-year career, the Saints enjoyed dizzying highs and suffered through painful lows. He was there when the club collected the dreaded wooden spoon in 2000, but was part of the Grant Thomas-led renaissance that saw the Saints march up the ladder to play off in successive preliminary finals.

Hayes was a decorated veteran by the time Ross Lyon took the club one step further to reach back-to-back grand finals only to suffer agonising defeats and he gives a rare insight into St Kilda’s epic drawn grand final with Collingwood that saw him receive the coveted Norm Smith Medal.

He refused to bow to a major knee operation and open-heart surgery late in his career and won widespread respect and admiration for the way he battled back to leave the game on his own terms.

‘He could drag a group with him across the line. He played without restraint, he wasn’t defined by the scoreboard or his opponent, and never kept anything in reserve … he put it all out there.’ Ross Lyon


01 October, 2014

About Lenny Hayes

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.


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