“That all comes back to how comfortable you are, or how good your relationships are, with guys and I think I’ve got good a very good relationship with pretty much everyone in this playing group so that’ll be more than fine.”
Some eyebrows were raised when the Crows’ 2020 leadership group was announced on Tuesday night, with former captain Taylor Walker and dual All-Australian defender Daniel Talia left out.
But Sloane described the experienced duo’s decision to depart the leadership group as “the ultimate sign of great leadership”.
“They didn’t feel like they needed a title to lead at all this year. They’ll still play huge leadership roles in our footy club this year,” Sloane said.
“That’s what we want this group to be about, is making decisions best for other people inside our footy club.
“Those two thought it was really important that we elevate a couple of young guys like Brodie Smith and Tom Doedee and Matt Crouch because these guys are really great young leaders and they’re going to be around for a bit longer than a few of us older boys.
“It’s important that we leave this club in their hands afterwards.”
Despite being the hot favourite to assume the captaincy in his own right in 2020, Sloane insisted his appointment wasn’t a fait accompli.
“For me it was important that ‘Nicksy’ [new coach Matthew Nicks] came in – he didn’t know any of us, hasn’t really spent any time with many of us really, and that’s other coaches included,” Sloane said.
“I thought it was really important for him to get to know this playing group, see what’s a fit, see what’s going to be the best thing for this group before especially he made a decision as well.
“Because you want the coaches to be in on it too – they’re a massive part of this footy club and this group. So it can’t just be a player thing, it had to be a coach thing too.”
While admitting that every AFL club feels optimistic at this time of year, Sloane was excited by what he was seeing out on the training track, especially from the Crows’ younger brigade.
“As we all know a lot of the older crew have moved on but these young guys are super exciting,” he said.
“There’s a few spots up for grabs and you certainly feel it because these young kids are absolutely training the house down.
“The standard of training has gone up because of these young kids as well.”
Despite coming off a year of tremendous upheaval in which coach Don Pyke, head of football Brett Burton and senior assistant Scott Camporeale were sacked and several senior players in Eddie Betts, Sam Jacobs, Josh Jenkins, Alex Keath, Hugh Greenwood and Cam Ellis-Yolmen left the club, Sloane wasn’t putting a ceiling on what Adelaide could achieve in 2020.
“Anything’s possible, we’ve still got a really strong core group of guys that have played a lot of senior footy,” he said.
Ronny Lerner is a Sports reporter for The Age.