During the 2015 season it become evident the valuable role Steven May was playing as part of the emerging leadership group.
His tenacity, dependability and ability to inspire have culminated in his elevation to vice-captain for the 2016 season, alongside Tom Lynch and Dion Prestia.
“It’s incredibly humbling to be voted into the leadership group,” the Darwin product told SUNS TV.
“To be named as one of the co-vice captains is a huge honour, one that I wasn’t expecting but one that I’m also up for the task and looking forward to the challenge.
“Obviously last year we had a few of our really good leaders go down with injuries so a lot of us younger boys who weren’t in the leadership group had to step up and Rocket’s [Rodney Eade] been a big driver of that.”
The three vice-captains will support skipper Gary Ablett as part of a 10-man leadership group and continue to shape the culture of the SUNS.
VIDEO: GC SUNS confirm leadership model
Heading into his sixth season with the SUNS, May explained that during initial leadership meetings it had become evident the group each wanted to motivate the entire team to buy into the club’s culture.
“Everyone needs to buy in and that’s something that we are really trying to grow,” he said.
“Sounds a bit cliché but we really want it to be a first year player able to challenge Gazza [Ablett] on the field and off the field, which is only going to help us grow and eventually start climbing up the ladder.”
The 24-year old said that although some may believe the SUNS would like to erase 2015, it was a year that defined the club and it’s future leaders.
“We faced a lot of adversity throughout the year on and off the field, I thought after round 10, after the bye, we were able to lay some foundations that are only going to hold us in good stead going forward,”
SUNS skipper Gary Ablett said the vice-captaincy was an amazing achievement by May and reflected the strong leadership traits that had become evident during 2015.
“He’s very vocal on the field and the training track, I think that’s a big part of the reason why he’s been voted in,” said Ablett.
“He does things very well, he challenges guys and he’s been really good for the younger guys, he’s always happy to get around and help them out wherever he can and I’m looking forward to working with him this year and continuing to see him grow.”
Ablett said he saw vast potential in May as a future leader for the team.
“There is no doubt that he’s going to be a great leader for us, we really need him to stand up this year and the other guys as well, and I’m sure he’s looking forward to the challenge,” he said.
Fellow vice-captain Prestia echoed Ablett, stating that May was the type of high performance leader the club and players needed.
“Steve is pretty much a straight to the point kind of leader, he’s a high performance leader, so high expectations and high accountability,” he said.
“He doesn’t mind challenging blokes like Tommy Lynch and Gary Ablett and he’ll also challenge the first year players.
“That’s what we’re looking for and that’s why Steve obviously got voted into the leadership group and the boys respect what he’s done last year on the field and off the field.”
Looking ahead to 2016, May said the new season presented vast opportunities for the club.
“2016 is a chance for all the boys who are still here to earn some respect back and earn some greater respect from around the whole AFL community itself,” he said.
“We’ve had a big pre-season, we’ve had some changes around the club and new leadership model and I think it feels like a bit of a fresh start for 2016.
“We all can’t wait to put it into practise which is ultimately winning games out on the field and everything else off field will take care of itself.”