The Sydney Swans leadership will see a passing of the baton today, with 2016 Club Champion Josh Kennedy being named the Swans new captain.

Kennedy takes the reins from co-captains Jarrad McVeigh and Kieren Jack, who have elected to step aside from their captaincy roles but will remain in Sydney’s leadership group.  

Dan Hannebery, Luke Parker and Dane Rampe have been named vice captains. The makeup of Sydney’s eight-man leadership group will remain unchanged, rounded out by defenders Nick Smith and Heath Grundy.

The appointment coincides with Kennedy recommitting to Sydney for a further three seasons. The 28-year-old had been due to become a free agent at the end of 2017, but he will now remain a Swan until at least the end of 2020.

Kennedy enjoyed another outstanding season in 2016, claiming his third Bob Skilton Medal, third All Australian guernsey, the Gary Ayers Award as the AFL’s best player in the finals series, and the Paul Roos Award as the Club’s best finals player. The No. 12 also became a Sydney Swans Life Member after notching up 150 games in red and white.

Since joining the Swans in 2009, Kennedy has placed in the top three of Sydney’s Club Champion award each year and led the league in contested possessions and clearances over that time. He has played 170 out of a possible 173 matches since moving to the Harbour City.

Swans senior coach John Longmire said Kennedy’s appointment is a credit to his consistency and character.

“Josh is a highly-valued member of our leadership group who consistently sets high standards every week and is a significant driver of our team’s performance,” Longmire said.  

“There’s no doubt that his teammates feel his presence when they run onto the field with him – he’s got a rare ability to lift those around him.

“As captain, we know Josh will do a terrific job and will enjoy tremendous support from our other leaders, including Kieren and Jarrad, who have been outstanding in their roles.

“A key indicator for quality leadership is to ensure that you hand over the job in the best shape possible. Kieren and Jarrad have certainly achieved this. I would like to thank them personally for the support they have provided, and will no doubt continue to provide.

“I would also like to congratulate our new vice captains Dan, Dane and Luke on their appointments. All three lead by example with their hard work on and off the field to drive our team’s values. We know our Club’s leadership is in good hands.”

Outgoing captain Jarrad McVeigh said the time felt right to hand over the role.

“We’ll be right beside Joey to help him along the way and we will be right behind our new vice captains, sharing our experiences,” McVeigh said.

“This is about handing over the baton to the next group who will take our football club into the future. It happened for us – Craig Bolton stepped aside for me and Adam Goodes did the same for Kieren, so it’s a natural progression.”

Jack echoed the sentiment.

“Jarrad and I have been incredibly proud to captain our football club and we feel the timing is right to reciprocate the opportunity given to us,” Jack said.

“We will continue to provide guidance and leadership to the young leaders coming through our ranks to help them learn and grow.

“Our supporters should be excited about our Club’s future – we certainly are.”