The Sydney Swans will be led by three co-captains again in season 2022, but there’s been a changing of the guard, as the next generation of Swans talent look to make their mark.

After five seasons as captain, Josh Kennedy has stepped down from the role, making way for Callum Mills to join Luke Parker and Dane Rampe as the team’s leaders. 

Mills, a product of the QBE Sydney Swans Academy, was elevated to Sydney’s leadership group during the 2018 pre-season at the age of just 21. 

Now 24, Mills has played 110 games for the Swans. He joined the club as a first round draft selection in the 2015 AFL draft, making his debut the following year and earning the 2016 AFL Rising Star Award. 

Senior coach John Longmire congratulated the three co-captains on their appointment and praised Kennedy’s leadership.

“Josh approached me mid-way through last season and said, ‘Millsy’s ready’. To identify that, foster it, and then make a selfless decision, sums up the sort of person Josh is. I know he will continue to be an important mentor.”

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Kennedy, who will remain in Sydney’s leadership group, said it was the right time to pass the baton. 

“We’re here for a short time in the scheme of things and it’s our duty to take that baton when it’s our turn and then pass it on when the time comes – and for me that time is now,” Kennedy said.

“I’m really grateful to Jarrad (McVeigh) and Kieren (Jack), along with John Longmire and the club for giving me the opportunity to captain. I’ve learnt so much over the journey and I’m really proud of what we have achieved. 

“I’m looking forward to continuing to try to get the best out of myself and this team this season. We’re in a great position and I’m excited by what’s ahead.”

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Mic'ed up: Josh Kennedy in the inner sanctum

Josh Kennedy addresses the group as he steps down as captain in 2022.

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Fellow co-captain Dane Rampe paid tribute to Kennedy’s leadership.

“I don’t think we could have asked for a better skipper,” Rampe said. 

“Josh has led from the front and driven a strong culture at our club. The positivity and drive amongst the playing group is a reflection of his leadership. It has been an absolute privilege to share the captaincy with him.”

The three co-captains and Kennedy are joined by Tom Papley, Harry Cunningham and Lance Franklin in a seven-man leadership group.