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Vince wants to step up after taking 'ownership of the footy club' in 2015

Ben Guthrie  January 22, 2016 8:04 PM

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AFL 2015 Rd 10 - Melbourne v Collingwood

Bernie Vince says the Melbourne squad needs to improve its voice

I really felt like I had ownership of the footy club. I loved that role

BERNIE Vince relished the "ownership" he had at Melbourne last season but he wants to step up and be part of the club's leadership group on an official basis in 2016.

Despite not having an official title alongside his name, the midfielder was his team's premier player last season, winning his maiden best and fairest at Melbourne.

Vince recognises he is now at the stage of his career where he needs to be more outspoken and set the example for his younger teammates to grow and develop.

"I've still got a fair way to go in that leadership area – I can lift again," Vince told AFL.com.au.

"I really felt like I had ownership of the footy club. I loved that role and hopefully I can continue to build in that area."

Leadership is an area that needs to be improved across the board at Melbourne, Vince said.

That is why leadership sessions have been a specific area of focus for the team on its pre-season training camp at Maroochydore on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Jim Plunkett, a facilitator for Leading Teams, has helped the Demons set their expected standards and behaviours throughout the two-hour long sessions.

Apart from captain Nathan Jones and vice-captain Lynden Dunn, the consensus is the Demons are too quiet at training and by extension within games.

As Vince puts it, using your voice to encourage and instruct is "not skill-reliant".

"Some guys really stand out in that area – Jonesy and Dunny are the A-graders at it," Vince said.

"We've got a lot of C-Graders when it comes to using our voices and we need everyone to improve in that area.

"We don't expect everyone to be as good as [Jones and Dunn], but if you're a C-Grader you need to become a B-Grader. If you're a B-Grader you should aspire to become an A-grader.

"Anyone can use their voice. My dad could go out there and use his voice."

Jones has been installed as captain for the third-straight year, his second as sole captain, but the Demons are yet to announce the make-up of their leadership group.

Coach Paul Roos told the club’s website recently the Demons would look to announce the rest of their leadership group once the NAB Challenge competition began.

Amazingly, at 30, Vince is now the oldest player on Melbourne's list.

He averaged career-highs in contested possessions per game (10.2), tackles (4.8) and clearances (5.3) in 2015

What made his 2015 season even more impressive was that he was often set the task of running with the opposition's most damaging midfielder, while also having the responsibility of winning the ball himself.

His duels against Patrick Dangerfield and Nat Fyfe were particularly intriguing.

"You're one down in the midfield these days if you have a lock-down, run-with player," Vince said.

"A big part of hurting the opposition the other way is by hitting the scoreboard. Players who can hit the scoreboard are worth their weight in gold.

"With less rotations this year we'll (midfielders) have to spend a bit more time forward and back so we'll kick more goals now because of that.

"I'll never turn down the opportunity of having a shot at goal. I quite enjoy kicking them so hopefully I can kick a few more this year."

As AFL.com.au reported on Wednesday, Vince is set to re-join teammates in full training within the next fortnight after recovering from a broken little finger as well as hamstring tendinitis.

He is confident his interrupted training program will not have an adverse affect on his preparations for this season.

"I've had a slower introduction into the footy side of things, but in saying that I've been able to do a lot of the running so that hasn't been an issue," Vince said.