IN JUST his 37th senior game, Port Adelaide key defender Dougal Howard was handed the captaincy in a sign he's a future leader of the Power.
The 23-year-old took on the top job in the absence of injured co-captains Ollie Wines and Tom Jonas for the Power's 38-point win against Gold Coast at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
Former skipper Travis Boak, who led the club from 2013-18 before stepping down at the end of last season, captained the side in last weekend's Showdown 46 loss to Adelaide.
However, in an injury-depleted team that featured 12 players with fewer than 50 games of experience, Power coach Ken Hinkley decided Howard's ability to relate to his young teammates made him the perfect captaincy choice.
"We absolutely believe that Dougal's an emerging leader of our football club," Hinkley said.
"As I said to him on Friday, this was a younger team so you're going to come through together, you're going to work together and you're going to get led by someone of a similar age.
"I thought (Howard) handled it really well, although I heard a bit of his pre-game talk to the boys … he didn't quite get that right.
"There were a few fumbles and mumbles through a couple of words, it made the boys laugh, so that's a really good way to take them on to the ground.
"We saw an occasional mistake, we saw some really impressive stuff, we saw a willingness to take the game on – that's what you want from a young leader, that's not to let it burden him.
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"He knows he was out there with a lot of support, but it was significant he was able to toss the coin."
Howard's captaincy reign could be short-lived, with Jonas a chance to return from a calf injury for Saturday's game with Hawthorn in Launceston.
The Power's youngsters shone against the Suns – Billy Frampton and Kane Farrell kicked three goals each, defender Joel Garner held his own on debut and Connor Rozee, Xavier Duursma and Zak Butters all had an impact.
"I've thought for a while that our list is really developing well," Hinkley said.
"It's not always going to provide wins, but I'm really confident we've got a list that's actually going in the right direction and in the direction of being a good side, not just an OK side.
"You admire the great sides because they set out to win the competition.
"We're trying to get on that path a bit more aggressively at the moment."
The Power, who are back in the top eight with a 5-4 record, could also regain star forward Robbie Gray from a broken hand for the clash with the Hawks.