He’s only one week into his time at Moorabbin, but Dougal Howard is already making a name for himself at RSEA Park, according to senior coach Brett Ratten.
“We’ve already seen at training why he was held in such high regard at Port Adelaide as a leader,” Ratten told saints.com.au.
“His presence on the track is really strong, especially considering it was his first week at the club.
The way he uses his voice and sets the standards in our sprint work shows us that he will quickly earn the same respect here.
After just 45 senior games, Howard has been well regarded across the league for leadership well beyond his years.
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The 23-year-old was even appointed stand-in skipper for Port Adelaide’s clash with Gold Coast last season, leading out a team that featured 12 players with fewer than 50 games' experience.
Now in his new colours, Howard is set to line up in a new-look defence alongside the returning Jarryn Geary, Jimmy Webster and Dylan Roberton.
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The versatile swingman joins several emerging Saints who have come into the pre-season in terrific condition.
Jade Gresham’s slimmed-down physique will allow him more time in the midfield, Jack Bytel is in full swing after a lengthy back rehabilitation, while Nick Coffield has returned in ripping nick despite shoulder surgery in the off-season.