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Roos on the hop for Eagles
Andrew Swallow. Pic: Getty Images

Andrew Swallow is on the hunt for a captain's mentor to complement his rugged on-field leadership which has helped drive North Melbourne back into finals contention.

Swallow, who this year succeeded veteran teammate Brent Harvey as skipper, said he hoped to tap into the thoughts of a recently retired, successful captain to help build on his leadership potential.

Ahead of tomorrow's clash with West Coast in North Hobart, the 25-year-old also revealed how the club's leaders orchestrated an action plan to combat a serious drop in morale earlier this season.

Swallow said that while Harvey had been the perfect role model inside the club, he also talked leadership with friends outside the club and associates in the business world.

He planned to take significant steps to improve his captaincy in the second half of the season through more intense reading and by interaction with others who had been proven to be successful leaders.

"I'm going through a process at the moment trying to find a mentor who has recently been in the football world," Swallow said.

"I think it is important to have someone you can just bounce ideas off and hear from to see what their thoughts are, so we're looking into it.

"Football is obviously full-time now, you don't just rock up three times a week - it's intense.

"So there is value in it because those type of guys know what the requirements are."

He admitted that North's run of five losses in seven matches after a solid start to the season had put his leadership to the test as morale dropped to concerning levels.

So he gathered the leadership group, which in turn addressed the rest of their teammates in a bid to turn around their flagging fortunes.

"You could just tell the guys weren't enjoying being out there," Swallow said.

"Even when we snuck a win against Brisbane, it almost felt like we'd lost.

"There just wasn't that usual feeling of guys enjoying themselves after winning a game.

"We just had a chat to the guys, getting them enthusiastic to train and to play and as a leadership group, we've been working on being more encouraging.

"All that is starting to come out now in games.

"I'm sure there are going to be times when we're not going to be playing at our best, but if we can bring that competitive spirit and enthusiasm, we'll give ourselves every chance. We just want to be like the North sides of old ... tough, resilient and competitive.

"If we bring that to the table every day and every game, we're going to be hard to beat and I think that's all the supporters want."

The East Fremantle product, who's younger brother David is a budding star with Gold Coast, said the leadership group stressed that just talking about improvement would not be tolerated.

"Sometimes you find that when you're with the whole group, you do a lot of talking, but it's about actions," Swallow said.

"We just wanted to make sure we weren't just talking, because we've been guilty of that in the past. We've got to make sure that we're out there setting the example and leading the way, and the guys have been terrific in doing that.

"We've had a couple of good weeks but realistically, while it's great to see we're putting performances on the board, we've still got a long way to go."

Swallow said that rather than verbally preach the hard-nosed ethic that had become known as Shinboner Spirit, the leadership group preferred to highlight the deeds of modern Kangaroo greats such as Glenn Archer, Anthony Stevens and Brady Rawlings.

Admiring their standard had also helped him to adapt to being skipper.

"When I was first given the leadership role, I sometimes felt like I had to speak more than I needed to," he said. "I've really enjoyed it, but it's been a challenge and probably more work than I thought it would be.

"When you're winning it's the best job in the world.

"When we went through that period where we were inconsistent and playing a half here or a quarter there, it did get tough. Having to come in day after day and back up ... even if I wasn't feeling 100 per cent, I still had to make sure I was the one setting the example.

"That's been something I've had to learn, but in saying that, it's been a good challenge.

"I'm well supported, the coaches have been great and I'm sure the longer I'm in the role the more knowledge I'll take."

Swallow said the momentum the club had gained in consecutive wins over Adelaide and St Kilda had been vital ahead of the West Coast clash.

He warned that North Hobart's Blundstone Arena was significantly smaller than Patersons Stadium and the Kangaroos were eyeing a major upset.

"It's been pretty pleasing to see the group as a whole play footy for 120 minutes," he said.

"We've been a bit inconsistent throughout the year, but the young guys are really starting to show their intent.

"We're still relatively inexperienced, but we demand that we perform at a high level every time we go out.

"I watched West Coast against Gold Coast and they're just so well drilled. They're bloody tough to beat but we give ourselves every opportunity to match up well."