Essendon GM of Football Dan Richardson has revealed the extensive process the Bombers went through to select their 2019 leadership group. 

The club announced on Wednesday that Dyson Heppell would captain Essendon for a third consecutive year, supported by Zach Merrett (vice-captain), Joe Daniher, Orazio Fantasia and David Myers.

Richardson said the process involved the playing group as well as number of key stakeholders.

“It needs to be a very thorough process. In our case, Luke Ball played a significant role, as well as other senior football people including John Worsfold, the coaching staff, Xavier (CEO Xavier Campbell) and myself,” Richardson told SEN 1116.

“It is important to ensure that you are clear on the leadership qualities you want your playing group and club to uphold, and it’s very important to know leadership is not just about the five players with the official title.Everybody must lead at any given point of time. 

“A large portion of our process was done at our training camp in Barwon Heads, including feedback sessions with the entire playing group which they then had some time to reflect on over the Christmas break. 

“Player development is an important part of leadership and our feedback sessions are designed to ensure that all our players can grow their leadership skills.” 

The Bombers’ 2018 leadership group included seven players, reduced to five in 2019.

Richardson said while Cale Hooker and Michael Hurley wouldn’t hold an official title in this year’s leadership group, they would still play an important role.

“It is easy to look at it as who you leave out, but the simple answer is that we decided for us right now that five was the appropriate number to have in the leadership group,” he said.

“Along with Cale and Michael, who are great leaders, there are probably a few others that you could easily add to our leadership group. You could have up to 10 players in it, but the simple answer is a five-man leadership group is the right number for us.”