One of four remaining members from 2018’s leadership group, Pearce Hanley has been handed the extra responsibility of vice-captaincy for the 2019 season.

It’s a role Hanley was more than willing to take on as he aims for an extended run at AFL football after an injury-interrupted two years at the club.

The 30-year-old said it was very humbling to be chosen as a key leader of the club and he was excited by the challenges to come. 

“I think that the path we’ve been on for the past six months in terms of leadership program has been excellent and there has been a massive growth in a lot of people,” Hanley told SUNS Media.

“It means a lot, I guess it’s just reward for effort, obviously a lot of people have put in a mountain of work.

“To be rewarded by the boys is excellent and hopefully I do them proud throughout the year.” 

Hanley will serve under new co-captains David Swallow and Jarrod Witts, who he says will be strong leaders for the football club.

“They said they are more action-based leaders but in saying that, in the locker room they are bubbly, they are up and about in meetings they speak up. 

“I know they’ve both been working on it so they’ve been excellent, I’m just excited to support them two.  

“I’m sure they are going to be great captains.”

Hanley’s leadership has come in leaps and bounds since he first joined the SUNS in 2016.

The veteran spent time developing his leadership skills in 2018 when he worked with the coaching staff during games, an experience he says gives him a new perspective on how he can lead the group in a different way.

“Unfortunately I’ve been injured a few times over the years, so I’ve done a fair bit of coaching,” Hanley said.

“It gives you a different perspective on how you see training, and us getting better as a group.

“You put your coach’s hat on for a while so it does develop you quicker. 

“I guess that’s the kind of leader I am, more of an on-field and in terms of training standards, an on-field coach.”

Hanley has trained well throughout pre-season and is eyeing a return to the field during the JLT Community Series before setting his sights on a round one berth.