Quietly-spoken fullback Dane Haylett-Petty says he’ll leave the stirring speeches to “charismatic” teammates and let his actions do the leading this season after being named captain of the Melbourne Rebels.
The Wallabies veteran was named as skipper by the Rebels at their season launch, and will take over the role that was shared by Adam Coleman and Tom English.
It’s the first time Haylett-Petty will captain a team through a whole season but coach Dave Wessels views his experience and calm temperament as the perfect glue to knit together a hugely rtakented, but still forming, Rebels squad.
Haylett-Petty admits he’ll lean heavily on some other big names in the Melbourne side to also provide leadership, and crucially, some on-field voice as well.
“I am probably not a huge talker but we have such charismatic leaders in the group like Adam Coleman and Willy Genia and Quade, who take a lot of responsibility on the field and drive us on the field,” Haylett-Petty said.
“I have captained teams for a few games but never for a season so it’ll be a big challenge. But the most important thing for a rugby team is having a good leadership group and having good leaders around the team to really share the load.
“It’s obviously a huge privilege and honour. I was a little bit surprised but I am excited about the opportunity.”
Haylett-Petty was one of a dozen ex-Force players who moved east to Melbourne last year and said while the 2018 squad bonded strongly in a short period, the 2019 Rebel campaign would be more settled and hopefully more successful, too.
“I think it's really exciting. Obviously coming in last year, a lot of unknowns,” Haylett-Petty said.
“I thought we came together really well considering we had a short period together last year and it was a bit frustrating being in the top eight the whole season and then missing out right at the end.
“But I think this year - huge opportunity for us to build on that and probably I think this is definitely the best squad I've been involved with.
The playing squad has got a bit more balance, a lot of depth, a lot of young guys coming through and Dave's really adding to the coaching staff. It's a world-class coaching staff around us to give us everything we need to perform.”
Having recruited some x-factor in Quade Cooper and Luke Jones, there is plenty of expectation on the Rebels to crack their first finals.
“I think we've got the experience, especially with Quade and Willy guiding us around, Adzy, running our lineout,” Haylett-Petty said.
“We do have experience everywhere and then we've got the talent of the young kids coming through. I don't think we're feeling any sort of pressure but we do have expectations on ourselves for the season.