Dyson Heppell’s first game as captain of Essendon didn’t go to plan.
The Bombers failed to kick a goal in the first half against Geelong and Heppell himself found the going tough as he tried to carry the midfield load.
“I realised and appreciated what a great job Jobe does week in, week out” – Dyson Heppell on captaincy
Heppell, leading the side in Jobe Watson’s absence against the Cats, said he gained a new level of respect for the Brownlow Medallist.
“It was an honour to captain the side for the night,” Heppell told aflplayers.com.au.
“It’s definitely not an easy job, especially when we put up a performance like we did.
“I did really enjoy it and I realised and appreciated what a great job Jobe does week in, week out.
“He plays so well consistently and leads so well every week – it gives you a little insight into how good he is.”
Heppell’s developing teammate Patrick Ambrose said the stand-in skipper tried to lead from the front.
“He was great. He went back with the flight of the footy a couple of times – he actually got in my way a few times as well,” Ambrose said.
“But he really tried to lead us on a tough night. He tried to keep things simple as captain.”
The Essendon duo were together this week supporting the Step Back Think message.
— AFL Players (@AFLPlayers) June 10, 2015
Step Back Think is an organisation trying to change the culture that leads to social violence.
Sportspeople across the nation will wear orange laces this weekend to help raise awareness about the dangers of social violence.
“It’s important to young people to be exposed to the dangers that go along with social violence and if we can help raise that awareness that’s a great thing,” Heppell said.
“Obviously younger players can perceive footballers as bullocking types of people. We are excited to get involved, try and change that view, and hopefully footballers across the country can put the orange laces in their boots and join us.
“One incident in the heat of the moment can change so many lives so the message to step back and think about what you’re doing is really important.”