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Atkins honoured to lead

Geelong VFL captain Tom Atkins. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

TOM Atkins has been given the best chance to further develop his leadership skills following his appointment as captain of the Geelong VFL team for 2018.

The 22-year-old was confirmed yesterday as the sole skipper after the role was rotated last year.

Atkins, who has played 39 games after joining Geelong as a development player, will head up a five-man leadership group that includes returning Cats James Tsitas and Ben Reid and newcomers Jordan Keras and Luke Kiel.

“Going into this year I’m one of the more senior blokes in the team now, so I’ve recognised I’ve got a bit of responsibility and my actions are probably looked at more than the last couple of years,” he said.

“I knew that would be the case if nothing eventuated (during the draft period) last year.

“It worked how it did and I was lucky enough to get the job.”

Atkins will take on the role in a period of transition for the Geelong list, with names like Jake Edwards, Alex Hickey, Ben Moloney and Simon Close among those no longer at GMHBA Stadium.

“There’s a lot of new faces and blokes that haven’t played in our system yet,” he said.

“It will be interesting once practise matches come, see how we go jelling as a team and working together.

“Just based on training I reckon we’re looking really good. Everyone’s putting the effort in and doing all the right things.

“It’s probably as much as you can do now.”

Atkins believes the arrival of the likes of Keras and Kiel, along with former Adelaide big man Sam Siggins and ex-Crow and AFL Cat Dean Gore is reflection on how the Geelong VFL system is viewed.

“It’s exciting to have players who want to come and join our program,” he said. “That speaks volumes about what’s been going on here.

“There were a lot of players up for grabs since North Ballarat dissolved, and for a couple of them to want to come and play for us is great.”

After a hamstring injury limited him to just 11 games in 2017, Atkins was overlooked during the draft period.

However, he doesn’t believe the injury impacted on his chances.

“Obviously it’s nice to play as many games as you can, but I think people will just formulate an opinion of you, regardless of whether you miss games or not,” he said.

“What did I play? 10 games? If people have made up their mind about you, I don’t think playing an extra couple would change it.

“It’s not the way I looked at it.”

However, the St Joseph’s product hasn’t given up on his AFL dream.

“For sure. You just go out and play and if someone takes a liking to you and thinks that you go alright, that’s up to them,” Atkins said.

“I just try and play as good as I can.”

Twitter: @tom_king79

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