SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 22: Josh Kennedy (left) and Callum Mills of the Swans look dejected after a loss during the 2017 AFL round 05 match between the Sydney Swans and the GWS Giants at the Sydney Cricket Ground on April 22, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

The Sydney Swans have announced that they will again operate with three captains for the 2022 AFL season, yet there has been an alteration to their leading pack.

Following five seasons as skipper in the Harbour City, Swans champion Josh Kennedy has announced he will step down from the role, with 2016 Rising Star winner Callum Mills joining Dane Rampe and Luke Parker as a co-captain for the club's latest campaign.

The academy product's latest elevation comes following his selection to Sydney's wider leadership group in 2018 when the then defender was just 21.

Speaking in the wake of the 24-year-old's rise through the ranks at Moore Park, head coach John Longmire claimed the former first-round draftee was prepared to step up to the plate following Kennedy's decision to step down.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 10: Callum Mills of the Swans looks upfield during the round eight AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Essendon Bombers at the Sydney Cricket Ground on May 10, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

“Josh approached me mid-way through last season and said, ‘Millsy’s ready’. To identify that, foster it, and then make a selfless decision, sums up the sort of person Josh is. I know he will continue to be an important mentor," he said.

Kennedy went on to add that while no longer an official candidate to toss the coin on game-day, he would remain within the Bloods' leadership group alongside Tom Papley, Harry Cunningham and Lance Franklin.

“We’re here for a short time in the scheme of things and it’s our duty to take that baton when it’s our turn and then pass it on when the time comes – and for me that time is now,” the 33-year-old stated.

“I’m really grateful to Jarrad [McVeigh] and Kieren [Jack], along with John Longmire and the club for giving me the opportunity to captain. I’ve learnt so much over the journey and I’m really proud of what we have achieved.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to try to get the best out of myself and this team this season. We’re in a great position and I’m excited by what’s ahead.”

Fellow veteran Dane Rampe used the opportunity to reflect on the former Hawks' importance to the group.

“Josh has led from the front and driven a strong culture at our club. The positivity and drive amongst the playing group is a reflection of his leadership. It has been an absolute privilege to share the captaincy with him," the defender offered.

Sydney is set to face both GWS and North Melbourne in pre-season clashes this month before their official season opener against the Giants on Saturday, March 19 at Accor Stadium.