Port Adelaide veteran Danyle Pearce (pictured) says building unity and camaraderie away from the field is as important to the fortunes of an AFL footy club as the work done on the training paddock.

The 30 year old Kokatha midfielder is stepping up in 2017, with the retirement of a number of Port stars to assist the next generation of Port players to adjust to life in the AFL.

Pearce says social occasions, like a recent boat trip that he organised for a number of Port players is vital in building the team spirit that will equip the the club with the will and determination to stand up when the team needs it the most.