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Swallow to make history

Giulio Di Giorgio  August 17, 2016 7:26 PM

"To do 100 as captain is great and it's something that will be great to look back on."

It's been a season of significant individual milestones for North and it continues this weekend when skipper Andrew Swallow runs out on to the field.

The 29-year-old will notch his 100th game as captain in Saturday's clash against the Sydney Swans at Blundstone Arena and in doing so becomes just the fourth Roo in club history to achieve such a feat.

Swallow, who joins Wayne Carey (184 games as North captain), Wayne Schimmelbusch (150) and Adam Simpson (110) in the exclusive group, said he was honoured to have led the club for the past five seasons.

"I've only just brought up my 200th game (in round 16 against West Coast) so to do 100 as captain is great and it's something that will be great to look back on," Swallow told NMFC.com.au on Wednesday.

"Ideally, it would've been nice to have won a flag in that time, but it's been good to captain the boys to a couple of prelims and it's something that I've enjoyed."

Swallow was handed the captaincy in 2012 from veteran Brent Harvey despite not forming part of the then three-man leadership group that featured Harvey, forward Drew Petrie and midfielder Brady Rawlings.

Swallow's appointment marked the start of a new leadership structure for the Roos.

"My first year as captain, I'd come from not being in the leadership group to suddenly becoming captain of the footy club," Swallow said.

"I was a bit naïve when I first took over because you never really know what's required, but I feel like I've been able to surround myself with some really good leaders and the next generation of guys who have made my job so much easier."

This year, the Roos went from a seven-man leadership group to five, with Jack Ziebell handed the sole vice-captaincy after sharing the deputy leadership with Petrie for the past four seasons.

Jamie Macmillan, Scott Thompson and Shaun Higgins round out the 2016 leaders.

In January, North coach Brad Scott said the club would transition the captaincy while Swallow is still playing, as was the case when Anthony Stevens handed the job to Simpson (2004), Simpson to Harvey (2009) and Harvey to Swallow (2012).

Swallow said the Roos had placed "a lot of time and effort into developing leadership" for the next batch.

"The guys who are going to take that next step, they're in there [in the leadership meetings] now and they're learning," he said.

Despite the personal achievement, the skipper's attention quickly turned to the second-placed Swans, who feature a star-studded midfield and are ranked first in the league in contested possessions.

Swallow said he was hoping for an improved performance from last week after Hawthorn burst out of the blocks with eight goals to one in the opening term.

The Swans, in fact, did exactly the same when the sides last met in round 10 at the SCG, setting up their 26-point win with six goals in the first quarter to the Roos' two.

"We've just got to make sure we come ready to go and bring our intensity," Swallow said.

"It's going to test us and test our depth but it's a good challenge for our guys.

"We feel like our contested footy is one of our real strengths so there's no better side to come up against than Sydney in that department."