Dan Hannebery's value to Sydney extends beyond the stat sheet, with fellow vice-captain Dane Rampe saying teammates at the AFL club all walk taller in the midfielder's presence.
Hannebery has attracted widespread criticism in recent days.
Melbourne great Garry Lyon, speaking on Fox Sports, described Hannebery as "a shadow of the player we've come to see for much of his career".
Former Swans coach Paul Roos, sitting alongside Lyon, noted Hannebery had built his game on work-rate and there had been a "dramatic" drop off on that front.
Hannebery was among Sydney's best against West Coast in round 13, tallying a season-high 24 disposals and curbing the influence of Andrew Gaff, but has otherwise struggled in recent weeks.
The 27-year-old missed three games earlier this year because of a groin injury, but coach John Longmire has repeatedly insisted in recent weeks that Hannebery is now fit.
"Obviously Dan's been struggling a little bit compared to his normal elite standards," Rampe told reporters ahead of the side's clash with Geelong at the SCG on Thursday night.
"While he hasn't been at his best numbers wise, he's continuing to push hard and really keep everyone accountable out there and lead by example.
"That's what we expect of him and he's getting a free run with his body now, so hopefully his best form shouldn't be too far around the corner.
"Walking down the race with Dan Hannebery, I know a lot of the younger blokes - and the senior players as well - walk a lot taller and feel a lot stronger running out next to him."