COLLINGWOOD defender Nick Maxwell says relinquishing the Magpies' captaincy after five years was not a tough decision, with 12 months of succession planning allowing for a smooth transition to new leader Scott Pendlebury.

Maxwell first discussed standing down as captain last February when he held talks with chief executive Gary Pert and former director of football Geoff Walsh.

The time wasn't right then, but 12 months on he is confident that Pendlebury is the right man to lead the Magpies in a season in which he expects them to be challenge for the premiership.

"I've enjoyed the last five years and it's something that has meant a lot to me … I've loved the responsibility," Maxwell said on Thursday.

"Scotty obviously has spent all five years as my deputy so he knows all about leadership, he knows the role, he knows what's required and I'm sure he's going to do a great job."

Maxwell said he had considered stepping out of the leadership group altogether this year but he decided he could play a valuable role mentoring the five new members of the group.

Nathan Brown, Lachlan Keeffe, Steele Sidebottom, Clinton Young and Travis Cloke have all been added to the leadership group, with Luke Ball retained.

"We talked about [me stepping away], but in the end we've got five guys who've come in who haven't been in the leadership group before," he said.

"Obviously Scotty's going to have his hands full with a lot of the club type things.

"To be there and help those guys with their development I thought was probably important, rather than stepping away completely."

Maxwell said the Magpies had "a special group" and "a big year ahead".

The 30-year-old said he was approaching the new season like it would be his last.

"I'm not saying it is or it isn't, but I think if you have that approach that's the only way you're going to get the best out of yourself," he said.

"If [my teammates] keep wanting me out there beside them playing with them and playing my role in the team, that's all that matters."

Coach Nathan Buckley said the decision not to nominate a vice-captain was designed to highlight that the Magpies would rely on depth of leadership, with every player on the list expected to contribute in his own way.

He said there were another six players outside the eight-man leadership group who were capable of inclusion.

"We wanted to develop a depth and breadth in our leadership and create an environment where we have more players who are prepared to put their hand up to lead," he said.

"We've been enormously encouraged, the coaches in particular, by what the players have taken onboard and the way they've driven the program.

"One bloke is never going to set the tone and drive this club where it needs to go. We need it from all 45 of our players."

Buckley said if Pendlebury were not available to play, the leadership group would meet to decide who would be handed the captaincy on game day.

Twitter: @AFL_Nathan