It’s hard to believe Wil Powell is heading into his fifth season of AFL football.

The once “immature” first-year, as Powell described himself, has quickly blossomed into one of the club’s most talented rising stars, evidenced by a career-best second place in the SUNS Club Champion in 2021.

Despite still being only 22, Powell has identified his next step in his development which involves growing his leadership skills.

Whether it’s in a formal capacity or not, Powell says he just wants to be a role model for his younger teammates and help them become the best players they can be.

“Leadership is a big part of my game I can grow and when I grow that I think I can bring some other boys along with me,” Powell said on the first day of pre-season training.

“It'll be pretty special seeing them grow.”

Drafted alongside fellow defensive companion Charlie Ballard, Powell said the pair both felt the responsibility to develop their leadership for next season.

“Chuck has taken that step as well, I got drafted with Chucky so him and I are those players that have to take that step into that new leadership role,” Powell said.

“You start seeing eyes look at you when you do stuff and you and it's a good feeling, knowing you’re turning into a bit of a senior player and you get a bit more onus on you when it comes to off-field and on-field responsibilities.

“The sooner we learn how to be better leaders it’s going to help the team.”

Both Powell and Ballard could soon be crucial members of the next wave of leaders to come through the club.

Powell credits the current leadership group of David Swallow, Jarrod Witts, Touk Miller and Sam Collins as a major influence on helping him develop his own leadership style.

After Miller signed a five-year contract extension last week, Powell says the playing group got a “massive boost” from the news, which was evident in the energy from the club’s first training session.

“(Touk is) a massive figure and leader, he just epitomises the club.

“If he's doing something right everyone would jump on the back of him and he will take the lead and we’ll happily follow him.”