THE esteem in which Tom Stewart is held at GMHBA Stadium has been further reflected in the third-year defender’s elevation to the Geelong leadership group.
The 25-year-old (he turns 26 next Friday) earned his first All-Australian selection last year and is a member of the Cats’ AFLW coaching panel.
“It’s pretty cool to be seen in the light from my peers and the executive team, footy department and the coaching staff as well,” Stewart said.
“It’s a massive honour and (I) will take it with both hands and try and lead in my own way.”
Stewart, who has played 43 of a possible 48 matches since being drafted as a mature-age selection at the end of 2016, replaces Scott Selwood in the seven-man group.
“I don’t think it (leadership) comes naturally to anybody, really,” Stewart said.
“It’s just that care and I suppose the investment I have in this football club for what they have done for me.
“So I just want to give as much back as I can and be the best person I can.”
Joel Selwood, who has led Geelong on a record 162 occasions, has been confirmed as captain for an eighth season, with Patrick Dangerfield, Harry Taylor, Mitch Duncan, Zach Tuohy and reigning Carji Greeves medallist Mark Blicavs returning from 2018.
Blicavs and Dangerfield will share vice-captaincy deputies.
Selwood says Stewart is deserving of his elevation.
“Mid-last year he asked to be a part of meetings and stuff like that. He was at a stage where his footy was taking care of itself.
“We didn’t want to put a burden on him, but he was relishing the job.
“So, this was the next step for him.”