DAVID Zaharakis has returned to Essendon's leadership group, in one of three additions to the squad for this season.

The midfielder was left out of last year's group but has been voted back in after working hard during the season to improve his leadership.

All Australian defender Cale Hooker and veteran forward Paul Chapman have been included in the Bombers' group for the first time, joining Zaharakis as the new faces.

Captain Jobe Watson, Brendon Goddard, Brent Stanton, David Myers and Dyson Heppell make up the eight-man team.

Watson, who will skipper the Bombers for the sixth season, said the inclusion of Zaharakis, Hooker and Chapman gave the leadership group a new dynamic.

"All three players really proved themselves as leaders around the club over the past 12 months, and to be voted in by your peers is a huge show of confidence in their leadership," Watson said on the club's website.

"'Hooksy', 'Chappy' and 'Zacka' will all bring a unique and versatile skill set to the leadership group; while as a collective, we will continue to drive the standards we expect of our teammates."

Jason Winderlich and Heath Hocking stepped down from the leadership group, with Hocking keen to focus on his preparations for the season after having groin surgery in December.

Coach James Hird acknowledged the quality of leaders at the club.

"Jobe has been a tremendous leader of this football club since being named captain at the end of 2009, and it's clear through the emergence of young leaders like Dyson, David Myers and now Cale and David of the influence he has had on this group," Hird said.

"This is a fantastic acknowledgement of Cale and David’s mentoring work with our younger players, while Paul brings years of experience to the group."