After five years as captain, Andrew Swallow says he will run out onto Etihad Stadium on Sunday against West Coast carrying a lot less weight on his shoulders.
"It’s a little bit of a different feel. In saying that, you’re still playing a game but probably just [with] less responsibility," he told NMFC.com.au.
"I will definitely feel a weight lifted off. Firstly, you want to go out there as captain and perform well, but you're also worried about the team and coaches. You have to able to get messages across during the week but also game day.”
Although he's still in the leadership group, the 29-year-old says stepping down as skipper has given him a new lease on life.
"I can sort of kick back and enjoy more than usual. Five years felt like a long time, towards the end of last year I really felt like it would be the last year [as captain]," Swallow said.
"I’m just looking forward to get re-energized and getting back to enjoying my footy."
After overcoming a minor injury in the lead-up to the practice matches, Swallow feels his pre-season preparation was strong.
"Most of pre-season was good, [I] had a little bit of a hiccup a couple of weeks out from games where I missed a couple weeks of trainings but other than that, I’ve had a pretty good preseason, I played 50 per cent of the games and finished up on a full game against GWS."
The midfielder potentially eyeing a new role in his 12th season.
"I’m trying to work out what sort of roles the coaches want me to play, it will probably be slightly different to what I have done in previous years," Swallow added.
"So I’m really trying to work on that area of the game. Also continue my strengths, which are putting pressure and tackling, really trying to get the ball for us."
And if he happens to come across Drew Petrie on the field this weekend, Swallow says there'll be plenty of banter aimed at the former Kangaroo.
"It will be fun ... It’s good to see the big fella still running around and it will be a bit of a challenge, especially if he is going to be rucking, so we can be at his feet reading his taps and getting stuck into him."