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Swans welcome three new leaders into the fold

Adam Curley  February 18, 2016 11:42 AM

AFL 2015 First Qualifying Final - Fremantle v Sydney

Heath Grundy is a surprise addition to the Swans' leadership group

Once they've got 50 to 100 games under the belt they're looking for the next stage and that's to lead

ALL AUSTRALIAN midfielder Dan Hannebery and defenders Dane Rampe and Heath Grundy have been added to the Sydney Swans leadership group for 2016.

The trio was voted into the new roles by teammates on the Swans' pre-season camp to Coffs Harbour a fortnight ago, joining co-captains Jarrad McVeigh and Kieren Jack, plus Nick Smith, Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker in the eight-man group.

Grundy is entering his 12th season with the Swans and has been elected into the leadership group for the first time.

Retired champion Adam Goodes and premiership backman Rhyce Shaw are missing from last year's leadership team. 

Hannebery, 24, has a premiership medal and a coaches' association MVP award to add to his two All Australian jumpers, but said this latest accolade was a thrill.

He said leadership was something he had worked hard on over the past couple of seasons, after his off-field professionalism had let him down at times early in his career.

"I had a few frank discussions (back then) with the coach and a few other leaders about the importance of showing up and making sure you set a high standard, not only for yourself but for your teammates," he said.

"An area they thought that I could improve was (my) leadership and I've still got a long way to go.

"I'm still developing and getting help from the likes of 'Macca' (Jarrad McVeigh), 'Joey' (Josh Kennedy) and 'Kizza' (Kieren Jack), and these sorts of guys, but I think it's an area I've taken leaps and bounds in this pre-season. 

"I'm looking forward to hopefully driving the group, if you look at the better leaders around the AFL they always set a high standard at training and on match day, so that's something I try and maintain." 

It's another remarkable chapter in Rampe's short career.  The defender was consistently overlooked by clubs and trained with the Western Bulldogs without success, before the Swans took him at 2013 NAB AFL rookie draft.

He made his debut in round one of 2013, missed the next two matches, but has played every game since, amassing 72 appearances in his three years in the competition.

The rebounding backman said seeing almost 1000 games of experience walk out the door at the end of last year made him focus on his own leadership aspirations.

"It was just seeing guys like 'Goodesy' (Adam Goodes) and 'Shawry' (Rhyce Shaw) leave, and just thinking over the off-season, that someone's really got to step up," Rampe said.

"I guess myself, 'Hanners' (Dan Hannebery) and 'Reggie' (Heath Grundy) have really stepped up in that area.

"It's not something we've consciously been aware of, it's just a natural progression for players developing, and once they've got 50 to 100 games under the belt they're looking for the next stage and that's to lead."

Grundy was also a rookie-list success story and despite fighting much bigger opponents most weeks, has been a reliable key defender for the Swans in a decade-long career.

The consistent 28-year-old is coming off a personal-best year when he finished fifth in the club champion award and said it was a massive compliment to be chosen.

"There's no better way to looked at by your peers so to be voted in is exciting," Grundy said. 

"Obviously it's highly regarded by our club, we've had some terrific leaders over many, many years now.

"I remember first moving to the club and I probably never thought I'd get there so it's a huge honour."