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Hayes is St Kilda's best

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Martin Blake

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Two cut-throat semi-finals

Rohan Connolly previews this weekend's first and second semi-finals and gives his tips.

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LENNY Hayes has won his third Trevor Barker Award as St Kilda’s best and fairest player.

Hayes, 32, capped a remarkable return from a knee reconstruction in winning at last night’s count at the Docklands, adding to the  awards he won in 2003 and 2010.

The universally admired veteran could not attend last night’s presentation because he is recuperating at home after corrective surgery a week ago for a cardiac condition.

St Kilda best and fairest winner Lenny Hayes.

St Kilda best and fairest winner Lenny Hayes. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Hayes, who played all 22 games, polled 124 votes to pip Leigh Montagna (121) and defender Sean Dempster (112).

Coach Scott Watters said Hayes’ season provided testament to his professionalism.

‘‘His return from injury this year has further illustrated the character and commitment that has defined his whole career,’’ Watters said.

‘‘His impact on his teammates as a role model is immeasurable and his will to perform at a consistently high level positions him as a standard-bearer at our football club.’’

Brendon Goddard was made a life member of the club as a 200-game player — something that traditionally occurs at the club’s annual meeting and season launch.

Goddard, 27, is eligible for free agency as a 10-year player at St Kilda — the free agency period opens in three weeks — and has already been linked to Essendon and Fremantle.

He made no reference about his future plans in his acceptance speech.

Goddard, the first pick at the 2002 draft, has played 205 games and could command as much as $800,000 a season on the free market.

Joining Goddard as life members were outgoing board members John Gdanski and Ross Levin.

In his speech, Watters urged his players to keep thinking about football during their break.

‘‘Let’s be restless over the break,’’ he said. ‘‘We’ve got to chase it [improvement]. We can’t expect it to come.’’

Watters also said the Saints had further work to straighten out their salary cap position. ‘‘Our salary cap will always put the team before the individual. I make no apologies for that,’’ he said.

2012 TREVOR BARKER AWARD

1. Lenny Hayes (124 votes)

2. Leigh Montagna (121)

3. Sean Dempster (112)

4. Brendon Goddard (96)

5. Nick Riewoldt (81)

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