JOBE Watson was prepared to reclaim the Essendon captaincy if the club wanted him to take on the role, but the champion midfielder felt teammate Dyson Heppell was ready to hold the position.

Heppell was officially announced as Watson's successor on Wednesday, with the 24-year-old taking over the reins as Essendon skipper. 

He follows Brendon Goddard, who held the role last season after the fallout of the anti-doping suspensions handed to players, and Watson, who was appointed captain ahead of the 2010 season and led the Bombers in 106 games.

"The extra process was me obviously sitting down with him to talk about how he saw the club and playing group, and Jobe was very articulate in saying he would be more than happy to lead the club if that was felt the best situation for the club this year," Worsfold said.

The Essendon leaders: (l-r) Joe Daniher, Michael Hurley, Cale Hooker, Dyson Heppell, Zac Merrett, Jobe Watson and Brendon Goddard

"But he also believed that some of the succession planning that he'd been focusing on the last few years and what he felt was really important in developing leaders, was that Dyson – or any young player – was ready to take on the captaincy of the club. 

"We had a good discussion about what we felt was best for the club going forward and that was the decision we came to." 

Watson, who turned 32 on Wednesday, will remain a member of the Bombers' seven-man leadership team, alongside Heppell, Goddard, Michael Hurley, Joe Daniher and joint vice-captains Zach Merrett and Cale Hooker.

Worsfold said Watson was a "candidate" for the captaincy, but that the Bombers looked at their position as a group and "felt it was the ideal time to have Dyson in as skipper".

Jobe Watson fires of a kick during the Dons' intraclub game on Wednesday. Picture: AFL Photos

Heppell stood in as captain for Watson in the back half of 2015, when Watson was out injured. The former NAB AFL Rising Star winner and All Australian midfielder spoke to Watson on Tuesday night ahead of the unveiling on Wednesday morning. 

"He's been a great mentor for me and also Brendon Goddard as well. They're two very different leaders but I'll bring my own authenticity to this role," he said.

Bombers hopeful young defender's ankle knock isn't too bad

"[Jobe] was very supportive of me. I had a good chat with him last night and it was fantastic for him to hand the captaincy to me this morning as well." 

Heppell has finished top-three in the Bombers' best and fairest in each of his past four full seasons (discounting 2016 during the ban), but his 2015 campaign was hindered at times by niggling injuries. 

The brilliant clearance winner and creative on-baller said he had improved his overall game throughout this summer as he hopes to lead Essendon up the ladder in 2017.

"I feel I've made some real developments in my game this pre-season, it's probably been the strongest one I've had and a number of PBs (personal bests) in certain areas," Heppell said.

Essendon faces Hawthorn in a round one blockbuster at the MCG, where Hawks champion Jarryd Roughead will captain his side for the first time. 

Both Heppell and Roughead come from Victorian country town Leongatha, and it hasn't been lost on Heppell the achievement of the area to produce two skippers at the top level.

WATCH: Where it all began for Heppell and Roughead

"I had a bit of a yak with 'Rough' the other day. [To have] two AFL captains from Leongatha, just a small country town, is pretty enormous. It'll be a great moment for the two of us and we can't wait for that occasion," Heppell said. 

"It's going to be a massive game for both clubs, and we can't wait."