|Full name||Lenny Hayes|
|Date of birth||14 January 1980|
|Place of birth||Sydney, New South Wales|
|Original team(s)||NSW/ACT Rams (TAC Cup)|
|Draft||No. 11, 1998 National Draft|
|Height||186 cm (6 ft 1 in)|
|Weight||83 kg (183 lb)|
|1999–2014||St Kilda||297 (95)|
|International team honours|
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
Growing up in Sydney, Hayes played TAC Cup football for the NSW/ACT Rams. He was recruited by St Kilda with the 11th pick in the 1998 National Draft and made his senior debut in round five of the 1999 season. He was nominated for the AFL Rising Star Award later in the year as well. Hayes was a first-choice player for St Kilda for virtually his whole career, other than in two seasons (2006 and 2011) where he would require knee reconstructions. After playing 297 games and kicking 95 goals, he retired midway through the 2014 season.
Hayes would establish himself as one of the best midfielders in the league. He was named in the All-Australian team three times (in 2003, 2005 and 2009) and placed third in the 2009 Brownlow Medal (behind Gary Ablett and Chris Judd). Hayes was a three-time winner of the Trevor Barker Award as St Kilda's best and fairest player (in 2003, 2010 and 2012). He also spent two seasons as St Kilda's captain – in 2004 as sole captain and in 2007 as co-captain, alongside both Luke Ball and Nick Riewoldt. Hayes played in three Grand Finals without tasting premiership success, but won the Norm Smith Medal for his performance in the drawn 2010 AFL Grand Final.
Hayes debuted in the AFL the following year. He started well and improved throughout the year, earning an AFL Rising Star nomination in the final round of the season (R22).
With St Kilda's current policy being that of one to rotate the captaincy to a different player each season, Hayes would be named captain ahead of 2004.
After a strong start to the 2006 season, Hayes ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament against the Kangaroos in Round 9, requiring a minor knee reconstruction which sidelined him until the 2007 season. In just his fifth game back in the 2007 season he suffered a broken collarbone, sidelining him for three weeks, although he managed to come back and play 19 games for the year.
Hayes was a co-captain and part of the Saints' 2007 leadership group – dubbed the "Young Saints", which also included Justin Koschitzke, Luke Ball (co-captain) and Nick Riewoldt (co-captain). Additionally, others included in the leadership group were Aaron Hamill, Fraser Gehrig, Nick Dal Santo and Robert Harvey.
In 2009, Hayes played his 200th AFL game in Round 9 against the Brisbane Lions at Docklands Stadium. During the match he gained 31 possessions in the Saints' 16-point victory. He finished third in the 2009 Brownlow Medal.
Hayes was recognised for his excellent season with selection in the 2009 All-Australian team as a midfield player. It was his third career selection in the All-Australian team.
St Kilda made the 2009 AFL Grand Final after qualifying and preliminary final wins. Hayes played in the Grand Final in which St Kilda were defeated by 12 points.
Hayes played 25 games in 2010 (including 4 finals) and received a number of accolades for his performances during the season:
- Trevor Barker Award as St Kilda's best & fairest player.
- 2010 Norm Smith Medallist (1st Grand Final).
- St Kilda's player of the finals series (jointly with Zac Dawson).
Hayes injured his left ACL early in the 2011 season and did not play for the rest of the year.
Hayes played all games in 2012 and won his third Trevor Barker Medal as St Kilda's best & fairest player for the season. He had a fantastic season and made a brilliant recovery from the ACL injury from 2011. He played his 250th game in Round 9 against eventual premiers Sydney, gaining 25 disposals in a 28-point win for the Saints.
On 15 July 2014, Hayes announced his retirement in front of all his teammates and family. Out of respect, his teammates wore t-shirts with the hashtag #ilovelenny. At the time of his retirement, Hayes held the all-time VFL/AFL record for most tackles in a career, having laid 1,496 tackles at an average of 5.04 per game. He held the record until 23 April 2017, when he was overtaken by Matt Priddis.
|Totals||Averages (per game)|
- "AFL 2004 Wizard Cup Grand Final – Geelong v St Kilda". Slattery Media Group. 13 March 2004. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 7 November 2009.
- "AFL 2004 Wizard Cup Grand Final – Geelong v St Kilda – captain Lenny Hayes celebrates with the trophy". Slattery Media Group. 13 March 2004. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 7 November 2009.
- "St Kilda wins NAB cup". The Age. 8 March 2008. Retrieved 7 November 2009.
- "Saints are NAB Cup Champions in 2008". Jeld-Wen. 8 March 2008. Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 7 November 2009.
- "AFL News – Saints shake off feisty Lions by 16pts". 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2009.
- "2009 Season Scores and Results – Ladder". AFL Tables. 2009. Retrieved 8 November 2009.
- "Smashing Saints do it for Lenny". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 26 May 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
- "Player Totals". AFL Tables. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- Schmook, Nathan. "Five talking points: Hawthorn v West Coast". Australian Football League. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
- "Lenny Hayes Joins the GIANTS". GIANTS Media. gwsgiants.com.au. 7 September 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
- Lenny Hayes' player profile at AFL Tables
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