The Sydney Swans this week announced that Callum Mills would be the sole captain of the club in season 2024.
Mills joined Dane Rampe and Luke Parker at the helm for the past two seasons, but as is tradition at the Swans, the baton has now been passed.
230-gamer Rampe had nothing but praise for Mills when the young midfielder was announced as sole captain on Tuesday, with Rampe describing him as a “complete leader”.
Speaking to Mark Levy on the Wide World of Sports 2GB 33-year old Rampe reflected on the decision to step down from the co-captain role alongside his teammate of ten years, Luke Parker.
“It’s been clear for a while now, probably throughout last year, that Callum was trending in the right direction to be sole captain,” he said.
Rampe and Parker joined Josh Kennedy as co-captains of the side in 2019 after Kennedy took over the captaincy solo in 2017. The trio lead Sydney through two COVID-affected seasons before QBE Sydney Swans Academy graduate Mills joined the captaincy group in 2022.
“It’s been something that our club has done for a long time,” Rampe said.
“When we stepped into the captaincy role we had people like Jarrad McVeigh step down while he was still playing, Josh Kennedy stepped aside to let Callum in a few years ago. It’s something I’ve seen the benefit in.
“I wanted to be around and help him with the kind of understanding that he’s going to be the future for us, and I wanted to be part of that transition and ease him in to being sole captain. It was a straight-forward decision in the end, he’s clearly the man for the job.”
Parker echoed Rampe’s words in an interview with Big Sport Breakfast this week following the announcement.
Parker who is set to play his 300th game this season, said the captaincy was an ongoing conversation within the leadership group and coaches.
“We had a discussion over the pre-season with a few leaders and coaches on what the future looked like,” Parker said.
“It’s been an incredible honour to captain the side but with Millsy’s development over the last couple years, it’s probably the best time to take over.”
Mills follows in the footsteps of Bloods legends Paul Kelly and Bob Skilton of captaining the side in jumper No. 14. This is particularly special sentiment given the club is celebrating its 150th year in 2024.
Despite being just 26, Mills has played 155 games in the red and white, is an All-Australian, Bob Skilton Medallist and received the AFL Rising Star in 2016.