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2018 VFL leaders announced

BTV: VFL | Heath Hocking commits for 2018 We caught up with Heath Hocking to talk about his decision to play for Essendon's VFL team in 2018.

After 11 seasons playing at the highest level, Heath Hocking has been named the 2018 captain of Essendon’s VFL side as part of an extended leadership group.

30-year old Hocking made his AFL debut in 2007 and played 126 games for Essendon, winning the 2014 Best Team Player Award. His contract was not renewed at the end of the 2017 season but the man affectionately known as ‘Buddha’ says he was still determined to play at the highest level possible.

“I think the most important thing as captain is to be yourself because that’s what you’ve been voted in for… to drive the standards that I set for myself for the other players.”

Hocking will be supported by an extended leadership group with Aaron Heppell named as vice-captain and Nick Hind and Danny Younan appointed deputy vice-captains after impressive 2017 seasons at VFL level. James Ferry and Sam Hooper complete the six-man leadership group.

“They’ve all been there a few years now and they’re definitely driving the culture of what we want to achieve as VFL players,” says Hocking.

“Obviously ‘Hepps’ is a really good leader and that’s the first thing I noticed when I came in was how vocal he was.”

Arm in arm with their teammates, the leadership group ramped up their pre-season training with a two-day camp in Anglesea.

Away from the club and pushed out of their comfort zone, the VFL men’s Bombers took the opportunity to not only hit the sand for taxing fitness activities but to align the AFL values to the VFL program with their sights now firmly fixed on their Round 1 clash with Frankston on April 7.