The Lion Queen: Premiers unveil new skipper for 2022

BREANNA Koenen will lead Brisbane's premiership defence in 2022 after being named captain on Saturday.

The tough defender steps into the role vacated by retired hero Emma Zielke and will head up a new-look eight-person leadership group.

Joining Koenen are vice-captain Emily Bates, Kate Lutkins and Shannon Campbell, with new additions Sophie Conway, Nat Grider, Cathy Svarc and the club's first female Indigenous leadership group member in Ally Anderson.

"It's such a huge honour to be voted in as captain by my teammates," Koenen said.

"Zilks [Emma Zielke] has created an amazing legacy in her time as captain, and I've learnt a lot about what good leadership looks like from her.

"I'm really excited to step up and lead this team as we take on the 2022 season."

The 26-year-old is one of seven Lions remaining from the club's inaugural season in 2017, and was an integral part of its 18-point Grand Final victory over Adelaide in April.

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Coach Craig Starcevich said Koenen was the ideal candidate to take over the role and praised her 'selflessness' and care for her teammates.

"[It's] her understanding of playing her role for the sake of the team that has struck a chord with her teammates," he said.

"Some of the roles she played last year against dangerous opposition has really resonated with her teammates, and it's that combined with the great empathy she's shown that has seen her land in this position."

Brisbane's leadership group for 2022. Picture: lions.com.au

Anderson designed the Indigenous guernsey worn by the Lions in the 2021 AFLW Grand Final.

"Ally being an original Lion in her sixth year, for the majority of the first five year she didn't actually nominate for the leadership group," Starcevich said.

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"She's been doing a fantastic job with the cultural education within the group, and she's put her hand up to take some leadership responsibility in the group."

Conway and Grider are the first female Academy players to join the leadership group in the club's history.

"For Soph and Nat, having been Academy graduates and to come through into the leadership group is not just a fantastic nod to the Academy, but is also a nod to the standard that their teammates recognise them to be at," Starcevich said.

"And then for Cathy to go from an uncontracted train-on player three years ago, to be elevated to the leadership group within two seasons is quite incredible and such a reflection of her character."