With news that Dyson Heppell is set to sign a new contract with Essendon, the subject of his captaincy was raised.
For various reasons, the midfielder is not seen in the top echelon of skippers in the AFL despite leading the Bombers through some tough times in the wake of their tumultuous 2016 season.
The following question was posed on SEN Summer Breakfast – Is Heppell an underappreciated captain?
Former St Kilda and North Melbourne midfielder Nick Dal Santo gave his thoughts on the former numnber 8 draft pick who has tallied 169 games in the red and black.
“It’s a really good question and a really difficult one to answer and analyse from outside of the football club,” Dal Santo said.
“One thing I will say about Dyson Heppell and my dealings with him as the captain of the Bombers on game day, he is superb – particularly when times were tough at the start of last year and at different stages this year – at putting his hand up with the media.
“He was brilliant and gave honest answers. He doesn’t give you token answers.
“He shows his disappointment or his excitement. I love that about him. You always know that you are going to get a good conversation when you speak to him.
“I think players at that football club have passed him in ability and appreciation which has just moved him down the rung a little bit.
“In the cold light of day, and if people actually took a step back and analysed Dyson Heppell, you’d have to say that yes, he’s done a really good job. Within that, he’s probably been a little bit underappreciated.
“He’s getting compared against the best captains in the competition, some of the best players in the competition. Maybe he is below those guys but Essendon has had its different challenges.
“Dyson Heppell has held himself really well. I absolutely think so (he’s been underappreciated).”
Heppell, 27, was named Bombers skipper at the beginning of 2017 and has captained the club in 63 games, including two finals.
He is reportedly on the verge of signing a new deal that will tie him to the club until 2022.