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Modest Walters says it's time to step up and help the younger players

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Michael Walters plays down his leadership skills - ${keywords}
Michael Walters plays down his leadership skills
MICHAEL Walters says his rising leadership stocks at Fremantle have come about simply because it is time for him to "step up".
 
Earlier this week, teammate Michael Barlow nominated the livewire forward as a player whose growing leadership had impressed the playing group throughout the pre-season.
 
The Fremantle players are due to vote on the leadership group in the coming weeks and Walters may well figure prominently.
 
However, the 24-year-old says his growing voice amongst the playing group has not come about through any ambition to take on a formal role.
 
"I've been here seven years now and I feel like I need to step up," Walters said.
 
"I'm 24 years of age and there's a lot of other younger boys in the team.
 
"For me it's just to give them advice. I don't see that as being a leader, I just see that as being a good bloke."
 
Walters' transformation as a footballer has been well documented but his growth as an individual within the Dockers organisation as well as the wider community has been extraordinary.
 
On Friday he was announced as the ambassador for One Life, the suicide prevention arm of Western Australia's Mental Health Commission.
 
Walters spoke passionately about his passion to help young people in the community and particularly indigenous youths with the issue of suicide.
 
"When I was younger, a couple of years ago, one of my close mates, I call him my brother boy, committed suicide and he was only young," Walters said.
 
"That's the reason why I want to be a part of this.
 
"It affected me quite a lot, especially because I saw him as a cousin. He was only a mate but he was a close friend to me, and Nic Naitanui as well.
 
"At the funeral it really struck home. If only he spoke out maybe people would've known. Maybe we could've come to him and spoken to him. But no one really knows until it happens so the underlining point is to make sure you speak out and speak to anyone you can."
 
This from a young man who only a few years ago was teetering on the brink of losing his AFL career as he was banished from the Dockers for failing to meet minimum training standards.
 
Now his coach Ross Lyon describes him as a "training animal", and following the frustrations of 2014 where he missed 17 weeks due to ankle surgery Walters returned to pre-season early to train with the first-to-fourth-year players despite not being required to.
 
"I felt I really had to do it," Walters said.
 
"I just wanted get back. I put in the hard yards early.
 
"The team is going to be harder to break into this year. We've got less boys in rehab at the moment so for me that was the main drive behind coming back early."
 
Walters suffered a slight setback in December when he needed minor shoulder surgery but he has experienced no issues since.
 
He is fit enough to have a bigger presence in the midfield this year but the Dockers' 2013 leading goalkicker says his main role is up forward.
 
"I'd like to go through the midfield and I'd like to stay down forward as well," Walters said.  
 
"If I'm getting shut down in the forward line I'd love to go in the midfield and have a bit of a run around there, try and lose my opponent."