LUKE Parker laughs about it now, but at the time he was a frustrated man.
Murmurs about his supposed unhappiness at the Swans began just after Sydney's inglorious exit from last year's finals series at the hands of Greater Western Sydney at the SCG.
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The 26-year-old had heard it all before given he was a Victorian plying his trade at an interstate club, but this time felt compelled to make a stand.
The dual club champion attempted – albeit unsuccessfully – to end any talk that he wanted out of the harbour city, so he took to social media to profess his love for his club.
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Parker, who is contracted to Sydney until the end of the 2021 season, told AFL.com.au it wasn't usually his style to buy into media speculation, but enough was enough.
"I was sick of getting messages from my mates who didn't believe me when I kept telling them I love it in Sydney, so I thought I'd put a stop to it," he said.
"But even after I put the post online, a story still came out the next day saying that I might not be staying (with the Swans), so I just couldn't win.
"I'm not too sure where that talk comes from and every year I think my name's been thrown up.
"Some media people think they get some information from somewhere and they run with it but I'm not sure where they got that info from, they might need to find a better source next time.
"I was never leaving, I absolutely love the club."
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Parker added a significant honour to his glittering resume at the Swans – which already includes the 2012 premiership, two Bob Skilton medals and an All Australian selection – when he was announced as a new co-captain of the club in December alongside skipper Josh Kennedy and star defender Dane Rampe.
The 2016 Brownlow Medal runner-up was initially caught off guard when coach John Longmire approached him about the role but didn't take long to warm to the idea.
"He sat me down in his office and basically told me 'this is what we think is the right way to go for the team', and pretty much straight away I was happy to put my hand up," he said.
"It's a massive honour, it's a dream to just play an AFL game and now to be a captain is an even bigger dream."
Parker and Kennedy have been mainstays of Sydney's midfield for the past eight seasons but with veteran Dan Hannebery's move to St Kilda in the off-season, younger players like Isaac Heeney, Callum Mills, Zak Jones, George Hewett and Oliver Florent will be charged with taking more responsibility alongside the established stars in 2019.
Those outside Sydney might not be backing the Swans to reach the finals for a ninth straight year under Longmire, but Parker has plenty of faith in the club's talented bunch of under-25s, which also includes forwards Ben Ronke, Will Hayward, Tom Papley and Tom McCartin, highly rated draftee Nick Blakey, and key defenders Aliir Aliir and Lewis Melican.
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"Every year they keep maturing and the more games we get into them the more they'll keep improving," Parker said.
"They're the ones who are going to take over this club in five or 10 years and it's our job to get them ready for that and get the best out of them.
"They're a core part of our best 22 each week so we need them to be playing some really mature football as soon as possible.
"It's a really exciting time for the club and the young guys are so enjoyable to be around, it's great to see where the club is heading."