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Stepping up

Leadership material: Nick Duigan (left) doesn’t expect to inherit the captaincy from Chris Judd.

Leadership material: Nick Duigan (left) doesn’t expect to inherit the captaincy from Chris Judd. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

YOU could forgive Nick Duigan for taking just a moment or two to pause to reflect on what has been a remarkable couple of years.

A little more than 24 months ago, the 28-year-old Norwood player had earned a high distinction in a masters of psychology and was headed for Uganda with his girlfriend to work in a refugee camp. Then came a surprise phone call from Carlton which changed his life path.

Duigan slotted comfortably into the Blues' defence, adding steel to a notoriously fragile unit.

One of the oldest recruits Carlton had ever acquired also quickly established his credentials as a role model for younger players. So much so that the South Australian was this week added to a leadership group which had almost halved in number.

Not that he has time to bask in the glow. ''I'm just the same as everyone else in the club, really, just working as hard as I can to try to get to a premiership,'' he shrugged.

To stand alongside Marc Murphy, Andrew Carrazzo, Kade Simpson and Jarrad Waite as an officially sanctioned leader of the club after just 38 games gives some idea of the esteem in which he's held by his teammates, who voted on the five men to lead them. And of Duigan's quiet confidence in nominating for the post.

''You had to throw your own hat in the ring, then get up in front of the group and discuss why you think you would be a good leader and why they should vote for you,'' he said.

What was his spiel? ''I just said that if they voted me in, they could expect from me next year the same as what they've seen from me in the last couple of years. There was no rabbit out of the hat. I've just tried to earn respect from the playing group by working really hard and being professional and having a crack on game day.''

Duigan doesn't believe Chris Judd's relinquishing of the captaincy is going to make too much of a difference to the pecking order at Carlton in practical terms.

''I don't think his role's really going to change all that much,'' he said. ''I suppose just in an official capacity in terms of meetings and press conferences, but the way he goes about it around the club will be the same.

''He's still got plenty of fire in the belly, and he wants another flag.

''It does give plenty of other guys an opportunity. I think, like he said the other day, a few guys are more than capable of stepping into the frame and fulfilling that role, so we just look forward to seeing how that unfolds.''

Duigan doesn't expect to carry the (c) against his name, though. That, he says, will be out of Murphy, Carrazzo and Simpson, any of whom, he says, would ''do a great job''.

Murphy impressed Duigan, among others, filling the role in Judd's absence last season.

''It doesn't hurt that he's one of the best players in the country,'' he said. ''The last two years I've been here, I've seen him really grow into leadership material. He's really demanding of himself and that just rubs off on all the players he's around.''

But Carrazzo and Simpson get the Duigan tick of approval as well. ''They're quite different leaders. Carrazzo is really demanding and vocal and a more extroverted leader within the group, certainly off-field in terms of setting standards and training standards and professionalism with bike sessions and rehab and hydro and all that kind of stuff.

''Simpson does all of those things as well, but is maybe not as outspoken and as loud as Carrazzo and prefers to have his on-field leadership do most of the talking.''

The decision won't be made until coach Mick Malthouse gets a look at the group in action during the pre-season games.

''He wants to get a better read of the players, wants to see how captaincy might impact on them, see how we handle it maybe on game day, so that'll be through the NAB Cup period,'' Duigan said.

And whoever gets the nod will know at the very least they have a handy ally in the former SANFL backman, half a world away from where he thought he'd be this time two summers ago, but very glad he stayed put.

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Round 1
Fri, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
COL 46 vs FRE 116 Report Stats
Sat, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
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CAR 87 vs PTA 120 Report Stats
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GEE 119 vs ADE 81 Report Stats
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NTH 60 vs ESS 99 Report Stats
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Round 2
Thu, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
RIC 98 vs CAR 86 Report Stats
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ESS 86 vs HAW 90 Report Stats
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STK 95 vs GWS 88 Stats
PTA 127 vs ADE 73 Report Stats
FRE 87 vs GCF 39 Report Stats
SYD 69 vs COL 89 Report Stats
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BRI 68 vs GEE 93 Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
HAW 137 vs FRE 79 Report Stats
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WBU 100 vs RIC 98 Report Stats
ADE 71 vs SYD 134 Report Stats
GCF 114 vs BRI 61 Stats
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COL 76 vs GEE 87 Report Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 72 vs COL 110 Report Stats
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CAR 58 vs MEL 81 Report Stats
PTA 159 vs BRI 46 Report Stats
GWS 83 vs WBU 110 Report Stats
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Round 5
Thu, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 63 vs RIC 106 Report Stats
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SYD 92 vs FRE 75 Report Stats
WCE 56 vs PTA 70 Report Stats
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MEL 78 vs GCF 86 Report Stats
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Round 6
Fri, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 83 vs ESS 60 Report Stats
STK 79 vs BRI 82 Report Stats
FRE 61 vs NTH 74 Report Stats
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GCF 134 vs GWS 94 Report Stats
CAR 92 vs WCE 89 Report Stats
MEL 38 vs SYD 69 Report Stats
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WBU 83 vs ADE 92 Report Stats
RIC 52 vs HAW 118 Report Stats
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Round 7
Fri, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 70 vs COL 104 Report Stats
Sat, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 175 vs STK 30 Report Stats
GWS 97 vs PTA 132 Report Stats
ADE 67 vs MEL 70 Report Stats
BRI 44 vs SYD 123 Stats
ESS 73 vs WBU 65 Report Stats
Sun, 04 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 77 vs GCF 120 Report Stats
GEE 81 vs RIC 76 Report Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 107 vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sat, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
PTA 94 vs FRE 76 Report Stats
BRI 57 vs ESS 65 Report Stats
MEL 83 vs WBU 99 Report Stats
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WCE 188 vs GWS 77 Report Stats
Mon, 12 MayTimes shown AEST
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Round 9
Thu, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 76 vs COL 55 Report Stats
Fri, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 64 vs SYD 114 Report Stats
Sat, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 74 vs MEL 91 Report Stats
NTH 125 vs BRI 38 Report Stats
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Sun, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 87 vs GCF 125 Report Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 111 vs NTH 91 Report Stats
Sat, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
GWS 41 vs RIC 154 Report Stats
COL 109 vs WCE 101 Report Stats
PTA 100 vs HAW 86 Report Stats
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GCF 119 vs WBU 74 Report Stats
CAR 81 vs ADE 76 Report Stats
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Round 11
Thu, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 148 vs GEE 38 Report Stats
Fri, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 54 vs COL 140 Report Stats
Sat, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 75 vs PTA 95 Report Stats
BRI 98 vs CAR 91 Report Stats
ESS 104 vs RIC 54 Report Stats
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WBU 51 vs FRE 89 Report Stats
HAW 94 vs GWS 87 Report Stats
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Round 12
Fri, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 107 vs CAR 102 Report Stats
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HAW 123 vs WCE 79 Report Stats
PTA 129 vs STK 59 Report Stats
WBU 87 vs BRI 95 Report Stats
GWS 66 vs ESS 81 Report Stats
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GCF 74 vs SYD 109 Report Stats
FRE 90 vs ADE 50 Report Stats
NTH 116 vs RIC 88 Report Stats
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MEL 28 vs COL 61 Report Stats
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Round 13
Fri, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 90 vs HAW 118 Report Stats
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RIC 85 vs FRE 105 Report Stats
SYD 98 vs PTA 94 Report Stats
WCE 103 vs GCF 100 Report Stats
BRI 80 vs GWS 125 Report Stats
ADE 109 vs NTH 73 Report Stats
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COL 98 vs WBU 106 Report Stats
ESS 77 vs MEL 78 Report Stats
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Round 14
Fri, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
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PTA 128 vs WBU 56 Report Stats
HAW 115 vs COL 86 Report Stats
GCF 118 vs GEE 78 Report Stats
FRE 105 vs BRI 22 Report Stats
ESS 101 vs ADE 92 Report Stats
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GWS 100 vs CAR 92 Report Stats
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Round 15
Fri, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89 vs ESS 80 Report Stats
Sat, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 116 vs GCF 63 Report Stats
STK 73 vs RIC 117 Report Stats
FRE 88 vs WCE 81 Report Stats
SYD 106 vs GWS 60 Stats
BRI 70 vs NTH 66 Report Stats
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WBU 91 vs MEL 85 Report Stats
ADE 99 vs PTA 76 Report Stats
COL 91 vs CAR 76 Report Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 108 vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sat, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 79 vs BRI 54 Stats
GWS 72 vs ADE 140 Report Stats
GCF 80 vs COL 75 Report Stats
MEL 34 vs FRE 97 Report Stats
PTA 60 vs ESS 62 Report Stats
Sun, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 151 vs STK 66 Report Stats
WCE 51 vs SYD 79 Report Stats
GEE 69 vs WBU 56 Report Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ADE 92 vs HAW 104 Report Stats
Sat, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 36 vs GEE 102 Report Stats
NTH 92 vs STK 33 Report Stats
WBU 94 vs GCF 66 Report Stats
BRI 64 vs WCE 76 Report Stats
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RIC 126 vs PTA 106 Report Stats
ESS 103 vs COL 39 Report Stats
FRE 136 vs GWS 60 Report Stats
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Round 18
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CAR 109 vs NTH 86 Report Stats
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STK 118 vs FRE 60 Report Stats
GWS 87 vs GEE 94 Report Stats
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PTA 72 vs MEL 69 Report Stats
WBU 94 vs ESS 101 Report Stats
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HAW 104 vs SYD 94 Report Stats
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Round 19
Thu, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
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Fri, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 79 vs ESS 57 Report Stats
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ADE 105 vs WCE 136 Report Stats
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GCF 117 vs STK 64 Report Stats
NTH 79 vs GEE 111 Report Stats
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HAW 107 vs WBU 45 Report Stats
COL 76 vs PTA 70 Report Stats
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Round 20
Fri, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC 95 vs ESS 77 Report Stats
Sat, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS 51 vs NTH 126 Report Stats
CAR 97 vs GCF 58 Report Stats
HAW 115 vs MEL 65 Report Stats
PTA 58 vs SYD 84 Report Stats
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BRI 63 vs ADE 168 Report Stats
STK 99 vs WBU 122 Report Stats
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Round 21
Fri, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR 76 vs GEE 82 Report Stats
Sat, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
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GCF 47 vs PTA 56 Report Stats
ESS 77 vs WCE 74 Report Stats
COL 56 vs BRI 123 Report Stats
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Sun, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 111 vs WBU 61 Report Stats
MEL 34 vs GWS 98 Report Stats
FRE 110 vs HAW 91 Report Stats
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Round 22
Fri, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA 140 vs CAR 37 Report Stats
Sat, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 101 vs ADE 94 Report Stats
ESS 108 vs GCF 89 Report Stats
GWS 67 vs COL 75 Report Stats
WCE 119 vs MEL 53 Report Stats
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Sun, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 48 vs FRE 106 Report Stats
WBU 67 vs SYD 130 Report Stats
RIC 98 vs STK 72 Report Stats
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Round 23
Fri, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 56 vs HAW 121 Stats
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CAR 90 vs ESS 90 Stats
FRE 105 vs PTA 97 Stats
SYD 65 vs RIC 68 Stats
NTH 123 vs MEL 93 Stats
GEE 143 vs BRI 81 Stats
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ADE 141 vs STK 62 Stats
WBU 109 vs GWS 115 Stats
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Fri, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
HAW 104 vs GEE 68 Report Stats
Sat, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
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Sun, 07 SepTimes shown AEST
PTA 132 vs RIC 75 Report Stats
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AFL Finals Round 2
Fri, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
GEE 92 vs NTH 98 Stats
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AFL Finals Round 3
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AFL Finals Round 4
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AFL Home and Away
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Sydney Swans 22 17 5 0 142.88 68
Hawthorn 22 17 5 0 140.78 68
Geelong Cats 22 17 5 0 113.77 68
Fremantle 22 16 6 0 130.40 64
Port Adelaide 22 14 8 0 129.92 56
North Melbourne 22 14 8 0 117.04 56
Essendon 22 12 9 1 106.34 50
Richmond 22 12 10 0 105.77 48
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