Reappointed Essendon skipper Dyson Heppell expects that playing alongside Jake Stringer will have a positive impact on his own game.
Heppell said the former Western Bulldog adds another element to the Bombers’ midfield and he looked forward to playing alongside him.
“He’s super-important for me,” Heppell said.
“It will make my role a fair bit easier and might allow me to play a variety of roles, half-back, through the wing and half-forward.”
Stringer showed his capacity to burst out of the centre during an intra-club at The Hangar on Saturday and he should ease the burden on Heppell in that area as well.
The Bombers skipper will head a leadership group that includes speedy forward Orazio Fantasia for the first time and sees popular midfielder David Myers return to the group for 2018.
Cale Hooker and Zach Merrett are joint vice-captains with Joe Daniher and Michael Hurley jalso part of the group.
Veteran Brendon Goddard, who captained the club in 2016, decided to step away from the leadership group to give another player the opportunity to develop in the role despite receiving the players’ endorsement to remain in the group.
Bombers coach John Worsfold said Heppell’s re-appointment was a reflection of the way he handled his elevation to the job in 2017.
“It’s wonderful to see Dyson voted back in as captain, and his leadership style clearly resonates with his teammates,” Worsfold said.
“Dyson consistently displays care for his teammates, leads by example and is extremely driven to see this group achieve the success they are striving for.”
After a brilliant opening game Heppell took time to find his feet in his comeback from suspension but by season’s end he was back to his best and led the Bombers into the final against Sydney.
Heppell said he had never enjoyed a pre-season more in his career with competition for spots in the team at an all-time high.
“I feel more comfortable in the role this year,” Heppell said.