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Pair better prepared

Max Phillips  February 18, 2016 3:14 PM

New Leaders Presser February 18 The latest additions to the leadership group, Sam Jacobs and Richard Douglas, speak to the media at West Lakes.
AFL 2016 Training - Adelaide Crows 090216

Richard Douglas was first added to Adelaide's leadership group in 2014

For us now to go in there, and I think we’ve developed as leaders and grown as people, it should hold us in good stead for this year and going forward.

Sam Jacobs and Richard Douglas both believe they’ve improved as leaders since their last tenure in Adelaide’s senior leadership group.

The duo was revealed on Wednesday as the newest additions to this year’s leadership group alongside returning members Rory Sloane, Scott Thompson, Nathan van Berlo and Daniel Talia.

The group will again be headed by continuing captain Taylor Walker.

Jacobs, 27, was previously included in the Crows leadership model in the 2013 and 2014 seasons, while Douglas was also part of the group two years ago.

Boasting almost 300 games of AFL experience between them, both men felt comfortable stepping back into leadership roles this season.

“I do feel I’m a better leader now,” Jacobs said.

“A couple of years ago I was probably still finding my way a bit as an AFL footballer. I feel I’ve got my game to a consistent level enough now that I can try and impact other areas and help other guys out as well.

“For me, that’s the most important thing - performing on game day. That’s my part of leadership that I wanted to improve on and I felt I’ve done that.”

Despite not being an official part of the group last season, Douglas said leadership remained an ongoing focus for the majority of the Club’s senior players.

“I think that it was good to sit back, reflect, and try work on our leadership skills,” he said.

“We worked closely with a few other guys over the last few years underneath the leadership group and tried to take a bit of pressure off of them and develop the young guys coming through.

“They (the senior leaders) do a big amount of work. For us now to go in there, and I think we’ve developed as leaders and grown as people, it should hold us in good stead for this year and going forward.”

Incoming coach Don Pyke retained Taylor Walker as Adelaide’s captain after the key forward took over the mantle for the first time last season. ‘Tex’ excelled in the role in exceptional circumstances, and was voted third in the AFLPA’s Best Captain honour as deserved recognition of his strength and character.

“It’s obviously exciting for Tex to build on what he started last year,” Jacobs said.

“He had his own personal challenges last year with the tough circumstances we went through, but he’s grown and I think he’s gone to another level this pre-season.

“His voice and demand on the boys has been great and also just the way he’s performing. He’s making sure he’s leading by example with his performance first of all.”

Pyke will take charge of the Crows for the first time this Sunday when Adelaide confronts West Coast at Unley Oval to open the Club’s 2016 NAB Challenge campaign.

A successful player, assistant coach and businessman, Douglas said Pyke had quickly earned the respect of the playing group in his first pre-season in the top job.

“Obviously there’s been a lot happen over the last few years at the footy club,” Douglas said.

“He’s come in and given that calming influence and I think the boys have really adapted well. He’s a great communicator amongst the players and is well respected.

“He’s come in and tweaked a few things, but at the same time it hasn’t felt like there’s been wholesale changes, which I think the group probably didn’t need.

“We’re just excited to get out there on Sunday and give it a shot and implement what we’ve worked on over the summer.”