PORT Adelaide forward Robbie Gray has been elevated into the club's leadership group for the first time, joining Hamish Hartlett, Jay Schulz, Jackson Trengove, vice-captain Brad Ebert and skipper Travis Boak.
Gray has impressed coach Ken Hinkley as he recovers from a knee reconstruction not only with his attitude to rehabilitation, but the support he has offered his young teammates.
The 24-year-old said leadership came naturally to him.
"When you can't help the guys out on the field you want to maybe help out some of the younger guys and that's something I tried to do a bit last year obviously not being able to play," Gray said.
"I didn't expect to get in the leadership group, but it's nice that it's happened.
"Nothing will really change for me though, I'm still focusing on getting my body right and being back and just helping the team improving this year."
Hinkley said Gray was a worthy member of his side's leadership group.
You’ve only got to look at what Robbie has done in my time at the club to recover from that knee injury he suffered early last season,” Hinkley said.
"He has almost transformed himself in terms of body shape and the way he has approached his rehab has been quite outstanding.
"He has led a lot of our playing group presentations across pre-season and the respect he has from the entire group has clearly demonstrated to me that he has rightfully earned his spot among our leadership group."
Gray said his confidence was quickly returning in the knee he horrifically injured against Collingwood in round four last season.
He won't take any part in the upcoming NAB Cup campaign and wouldn't offer a timeline for his return, but Gray is back running and has even joined in with the main group in recent times.
"I'm feeling really good at the moment so there's no set date or anything like that, I'm just trying to make sure I'll get as fit as possible so when the doctor says I'm ready to go, I'm ready to go," Gray said.
"I'm feeling very confident with [the knee], especially the last few weeks it's been good to get back with the group a little bit and do a couple of drills, but I'm just focusing on building the strength up."
While Gray will miss the NAB Cup, the Power will take on Adelaide and St Kilda on Sunday in the pre-season competition's opening round.
Hinkley's expectation on the group is simple; he wants the side to play the way it has trained over the summer.
"I just want to see them do the things we've executed over the pre-season, we've trained a certain way right through the pre-season," he said.
"What happened last year is last year for me, I want to make sure that we're playing the way we've trained.
"I'll be really pleased if that's what we're able to do."
Robbie Gray is a $276,100 forward/midfielder in NAB AFL Fantasy. He averaged 67 points in 2012.
Harry Thring is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_Harry.