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Lenny Hayes (born 14 January 1980) is a professional Australian rules footballer playing with St Kilda Football Club in the Australian Football League.
Hayes is a former captain of St Kilda and continues to be an onfield leader in the Saints' midfield.
Hayes grew up in suburban Sydney and began playing junior football with Pennant Hills in the Sydney AFL.
In 1998, Hayes was a standout player for NSW/ACT in the representative TAC Cup, taking out the Morrish Medal as the best player in the competition.
Hayes debuted the following year in the AFL. Although he started well, he improved throughout the year, earning an AFL Rising Star nomination in the final round of the season (R22).
Hayes was captain for the 2004 season as part of St Kilda's then policy of rotating the captaincy to a different player each season.
Hayes was captain in St Kilda’s 2004 Wizard Home Loans Cup winning side, the club's second pre-season cup win.
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). Also included in the leadership group were Aaron Hamill, Fraser Gehrig, Nick Dal Santo and Robert Harvey.
Hayes played in St Kilda’s 2008 NAB Cup winning side, the club’s third pre-season cup win.
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 played in 19 of the 22 matches in the 2009 home and away rounds in which St Kilda qualified in first position for the finals series, winning the club’s third minor premiership.
Hayes was recognised for his excellent season with selection in the 2009 All-Australian Team as a midfield player, his third All-Australian Team award.
St Kilda qualified for 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 four finals, and received a number of accolades for his performances during the season: Trevor Barker medallist for St Kilda's best & fairest player in 2010. 2010 Norm Smith Medallist (1st Grand Final).
An ACL injury sustained by Hayes in round 2 of the 2011 season required a full knee reconstruction he and did not play the rest of that year. He returned in the opening round of the 2012 season and quickly regained the form that has made him one of St Kilda's greatest sons.