WHEN new Huddersfield Giants skipper Darren Fleary was starting out as a rugby league player he never thought of himself as a potential captain.
He always knew he had it in him to be a leader, but his sole aim during his time at amateur club Moldgreen was landing a professional contract.
Those were achieved at Dewsbury, Keighley, Leeds and finally, at his hometown club Huddersfield.
But even when he signed for the Giants at the start of last season, becoming the captain was the last thing on his mind.
Yet on Friday, Fleary will lead out the Giants in the pre-season clash against Castleford Tigers at the McAlpine (8.00) as club captain.
His appointment seemed the natural choice after leading Huddersfield to seven Super League victories last season after taking over from the now departed Steve McNamara.
He was, after all, in command as the Giants secured spectacular wins over St Helens, Wigan Warriors, Leeds Rhinos and Hull
However, Fleary admits that being given the nod was still a great honour.
"Captaining a Super League club is one of the highest possible honours," said Fleary.
"What obviously makes it even more of an honour is that I'll be captaining my hometown club, and that makes me feel very proud.
"I've always prided myself on trying to give 100% and I hope that being handed the extra responsibility of captaining the side will help make me an even better player.
"I'm the first to admit that I've given away my fair share of penalties over the years and that's not been to the benefit of the team.
"As captain, it'll be up to me to take the lead and take responsibility, and that will start by cutting out the penalties.
"Until now I've not seen myself as potential captain material, even when I was starting out at Moldgreen.
"I have, however, always thought of myself as a leader, and I'm happy to take on the role right now.
"It's a proud moment knowing I am the captain of such a famous club.
"I'm also proud to be leading what I think will be a good squad which has enough talent to take us even further in the competition.
"But we certainly won't be under any illusions this season.
"I think some sides took us a little lightly last year and paid the price, especially at the McAlpine.
"I don't see that happening second time around, and we have to be aware of that. I'm sure we will be.
"And as captain it's up to me to take the lead."
New vice captain Darren Turner also has experience of leading out the Giants.
He was first given the nod under previous coach Tony Smith two years ago, and admitted then it was a great honour.
But now the position is official, he believes it means even more.
"I felt really proud when Tony approached me a couple of years ago and I enjoyed the extra responsibility," reflected the Challenge Cup winner.
"And I felt equally proud when Jon asked me to be vice captain.
"Knowing your coach is prepared to offer you a position like this is a great feeling and means a lot to me.
"It's now up to me to repay the faith he has in me."