Selfless veteran Callan Ward has no interest in being GWS's back-seat driver, backing Josh Kelly to excel as captain of the injury-ravaged AFL club on Sunday.
Injuries to skipper Stephen Coniglio and vice-captain Toby Greene created a dilemma for coach Leon Cameron ahead of the clash with West Coast at Giants Stadium.
It would have been understandable if Cameron contemplated a temporary promotion for Ward, the club's co-captain from 2012-2019 and its games record holder.
Ward is thrilled that Cameron didn't, arguing the time is right for Kelly to stamp his mark on the inexperienced team.
"I've had some really good discussions with Leon in terms of the leadership stuff and where I'm at with that," Ward told AAP.
"Since coming back from my knee reconstruction, I've been happy to take a back seat.
"Naturally I'll try to help Josh and the leaders informally where I can. I'll say something when I feel something has to be said.
"But I'm there as support. Josh being captain is a show of respect in terms of the person he is and leader he can be, it's really exciting for him and the club."
Most draftees require some form of leeway, patience, guidance or affirmation while trying to find their feet at a club.
Kelly, the No.2 draft pick in 2013, proved the exception as a remarkably polished and professional 18-year-old.
Ward recalled his first impression of the Victorian with awe, admitting he was stunned by the maturity of a teenage midfielder with "leadership written all over him".
"He just did everything right. He didn't have that much to work on because he nailed a lot of areas that first-year guys usually need to work on," Ward said.
"He speaks really well, he's really articulate and intelligent.
"He's really driven and he drives other guys to do, pretty much what he does.
"The No.1 thing as captain is getting your form right and he's been in really, really good form."
Key forward Jesse Hogan on Friday joined Greene, Coniglio and several other key players on GWS's injury list.
Ward conceded the setbacks had made life harder but added the club's youngsters were "holding up their end of the bargain".
"Every club goes through injuries, things don't always go your way," Ward said.