When Queanbeyan’s Ryan Quade announced that he was having a stint in country football this year, the black and gold were left without a skipper.
The Tigers had to fill the void.
Brisbane Lions legend Jonathan Brown once said that captains need to be able to lead with their actions – both on and off the field.
There was one player that fit the mould better than perhaps anyone else at Allinsure Park. Enter Andrew Swan.
The club-favourite was chosen by his peers as the side’s new captain, an unenviable task considering the massive player turnover suffered by the proud club during the off-season.
“I was pretty stoked to get it actually. I didn’t realise I was that close to it,” said the St Edmunds College product.
“The boys lost almost a full team [from] last year. They needed someone to step up and it was always going to be close between ‘Fruey’ [vice-captain Brett Fruend] and I, and at the end of the day I ended up getting it just by one vote.
I did feel very privileged to get the captaincy.”
Swan started the season with an appearance for the Cooma Cats – Queanbeyan’s affiliate club – in the Regional Grade, collecting Best on Ground honours, before returning to the Tigers line-up in time for the season opener against Ainslie.
Judged as one of best afield in his first two outings for the Tigers this season, Swan copped a nasty hand injury following Round 3 which ruled him out of the next two weeks of football – his last before an overseas trip.
Brown suggests that the most effective leaders are those who lead by example. When Swan returns, that is just what he will be looking to do.
“Because [with] words, you can say anything you want. But actions show that you’re doing it,” said the 22-year-old.
Quite often, the best leaders will have strong mentors that assist them to develop leadership qualities, and the reliable Tiger says that senior players in the past have helped him progress to the point he is at now.
When asked who the more significant influences were on his football career, Swan credits a known leader in Mark Armstrong for giving him a start in senior football.
“Merv Armstrong, for giving me a run at the start, and teaching me. So [the biggest influences are] probably Merv to start with, and the other older boys later on when I was a little bit older.”
After palming off NEAFL offers to stay with the Tigers, one can rest assured that Queanbeyan have found a candidate more than worthy of having the ‘C’ next to his name.
ARTICLE WRITTEN FOR AFL CANBERRA