AFL Rd 1 - Essendon v Hawthorn
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 20: Dyson Heppell of the Bombers in action during the 2021 AFL Round 01 match between the Essendon Bombers and the Hawthorn Hawks at Marvel Stadium on March 20, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Essendon captain Dyson Heppell will continue his reign of leading the Bombers for a sixth successive season, with the club confirming the veteran defender has been appointed as a standalone skipper for 2022.

Heppell has been a highly-regarded figure at Tullamarine since first stepping foot into the club, having had an immediate impact at AFL level and quickly gaining the attention as a future captain of the Bombers in his early years.

The 29-year-old was officially handed the captaincy in 2017, succeeding Brendon Goddard - who held the role for one year.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 6: Dyson Heppell of the Bombers comes onto the field after half time during the 2015 AFL round 23 match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Essendon Bombers at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia on September 6, 2015. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Heppell has played 85 games as captain of Essendon, totalling 191 matches in the red sash since making his debut in 2011.

Bombers coach Ben Rutten spoke highly of Heppell's leadership credentials and qualities at the club's AGM this week.

“Dyson is universally respected among the team and has united the squad with his inclusive leadership skills,” Rutten said.

“Over the past five years as captain, he has demonstrated his lead-by-example style and has unanimous support from the entire playing group and wider club to continue as captain in 2022.”

The Bombers are set to announce their entire leadership group early next year.