Follow the leader: Who's captaining your club this season?

STEPH Chiocci and Brianna Davey will co-captain Collingwood for a third successive season. 

It marks a seventh straight season holding the reins for Chiocci – the club's inaugural AFLW skipper – while Davey captained Carlton in 2018 and 2019, and was vice-captain upon crossing to the Pies the following year.

Brit Bonnici and Ruby Schleicher have been named vice-captains, while Chloe Molloy and rising defender Lauren Butler have been appointed to the leadership group for the first time.

Both Davey and Bonnici are rehabbing torn ACLs, and will be inactive this season.

"Lauren is a quieter type, but is someone who leads by example and gives 100 per cent. She hasn't had a great run with her body in the past, but took her game to another level last season," Chiocci said.

Magpies skipper Steph Chiocci in action during round four, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"She just quietly goes about her business and the girls just absolutely adore her.

"Chloe can turn a game on its head. She's really focused on building relationships with the girls, and she's our most experienced forward as well, so she leads the way there.

"Her standards she sets for herself and the team are really high, so that's going to really drive us and I'm really excited to work with them."

AFLW FIXTURE Who does your team play in season seven?

Adelaide

THREE-TIME premiership player Chelsea Randall will lead Adelaide for a seventh consecutive season.

The defender, an inaugural member of the Crows side, will be supported once again by Sarah Allan as vice-captain. 

The five-player leadership group will remain the same, with Stevie-Lee Thompson, Ebony Marinoff and Eloise Jones also voted in by the team during a recent pre-season training camp in Darwin. 

"Chelsea is a natural-born leader and is passionate about helping her teammates get better," coach Matthew Clarke said. 

Randall said she was confident of becoming an even stronger leader as she prepares to take the reins solo for a third year.

"I am honoured to lead this incredible group again and I can't wait to continue to help them develop into the best footballers and people they can be," she said.

"I truly believe you're only as good as the people you surround yourself with and I'm extremely fortunate to be surrounded by some of the best. 

"The passion, determination and commitment the players, staff and coaches display is exceptional to say the least."

Brisbane

BREANNA Koenen will once again lead Brisbane for AFLW season seven, supported by new vice-captain Nat Grider.

Koenen, an unheralded defender, took over the captaincy from premiership captain Emma Zielke at the start of 2022. 

Lions head coach Craig Starcevich said Koenen would continue to lead by example in season seven.

Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich and captain Breanna Koenen pose at the Big Pineapple on January 4, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

“Bre got the nod last year as Captain for the way she leads on field but also the empathy she has for people off field,” Starcevich said.

“Off field people probably don’t see the connection she has with the other players. So the challenge she has now is not to spread herself too thin by trying to be everything to everyone, that’s just in her nature.

“She is a selfless player on field. There are games where she had a massive influence offensively and defensively, and where she had a specific role to play and was happy to give herself up for team cause.”

YOUR CLUB'S LIST Every team locked in for AFLW season seven

Koenen said she was excited to continue to lead the Lions.

“I pride myself on being a leader that leads by example on and off the field. I want to be a leader that inspires others to be leaders,” she said.

“It was a hectic season personally, with all the schedule changes. I think the biggest thing I learnt was to delegate and share the load.

“The support from my teammates means everything to me, so it gives me a lot of confidence in my ability that I am the right person for the job.

“We have an experienced program supported by excellent staff and players so I am excited to see what we can do this year.”

Nat Grider gets a handball away under pressure from Richelle Cranston during round two, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Grider had a breakout 2022, making the All-Australian team and taking out the Lions' All For One Award.

“I think Natalie has leadership in her DNA, it is pretty natural for her,” Starcevich said.

“She is a young aggressive player with a few rough edges that need ironing out, but in main, she is pretty mature for her age and has started to play at high level and also has strong connections off field with the group.

“Her personality leads to these types of positions even though she is only 22.”

Reigning AFLW best and fairest winner Emily Bates and Ally Anderson round out the Lions' leadership group.

Carlton

KERRYN Peterson (nee Harrington) will lead Carlton for the fourth consecutive season. 

The three-time All-Australian defender will be supported by vice-captains Darcy Vescio and Jess Dal Pos. 

"Kerryn has proved herself a natural leader and did a fantastic job as sole captain last season – we have no doubt she will continue to be the perfect choice to lead this club," coach Daniel Harford said. 

"Jess also officially joins the leadership group as co-vice-captain alongside Darcy and we're confident these players will continuously build on the connection of the group and drive our standards right throughout the season." 

Three emerging leaders round out the leadership group for season seven, with Rising Star Mimi Hill, Lucy McEvoy and Breann Moody each stepping into official roles. 

"Darcy, Jess and I will work together to ensure the group stays connected, adheres to the values of our program and continues to rise to the occasion throughout the season," Peterson said. 

"It's also fantastic to be able to welcome some new emerging leaders into the group this season, and it’s testament to Mimi, Breann and Lucy's existing relationships with the playing group that they have been chosen by their peers to step into these elevated roles." 

Collingwood

STEPH Chiocci and Brianna Davey will co-captain Collingwood for a third successive season.

It marks a seventh straight season holding the reins for Chiocci – the club's inaugural AFLW skipper – while Davey captained Carlton in 2018 and 2019, and was vice-captain upon crossing to the Pies the following year.

Brit Bonnici and Ruby Schleicher have been named vice-captains, while Chloe Molloy and rising defender Lauren Butler have been appointed to the leadership group for the first time.

Both Davey and Bonnici are rehabbing torn ACLs, and will be inactive this season.

Steph Chiocci and Brianna Davey look on during Collingwood's clash with Richmond in round three, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Essendon

ESSENDON has appointed Bonnie Toogood and Steph Cain as its inaugural AFLW co-captains.

Former Saint Jacqui Vogt and VFLW skipper Georgia Nanscawen (who is inactive this season after rupturing her ACL) round out the leadership group for this season.

Toogood, 24, started her AFLW career in 2018 with the Western Bulldogs as a rookie, crossing from netball. She has since played 37 games, primarily as a key forward, kicking 29 goals.

The 26-year-old Cain was a surprise Bombers recruit, crossing from Fremantle, where she was an inaugural player.

Read the full story here

 

Essendon's Bonnie Toogood during the club's official team photo ahead of the seventh season of AFLW. Picture: AFL Photos

Fremantle

HAYLEY Miller will continue as Fremantle captain this season, after taking the reins earlier this year. 

Miller, who is coming off a career-best season which saw her named vice captain of the All-Australian team, will be supported by Ange Stannett as vice-captain. 

Gabby O'Sullivan, Janelle Cuthbertson, and Laura Pugh complete the leadership group, with the latter pair elevated for the first time. 

"Four years ago, when I came into the program, I didn’t know what it was going to look like or how long I’d be here, given that I was pretty new to football," Cuthbertson said. 

Hayley Miller celebrates with Fremantle teammates against Carlton in R6, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

"We’ve got a very young group, but also a list of strong and diverse characters as well, so I think as I have gone through the program, I’ve realised I’ve got a bit to offer and a bit of experience with my age. I’m really keen to try and filter that down to the playing group." 

Star midfielder Kiara Bowers, who has been a member of Fremantle's leadership group since the competition began, has chosen to step away from an official leadership role this season to provide room for new voices. 

Geelong

GEELONG will be led by Meg McDonald for the third consecutive season, once again supported by vice captain Nina Morrison. 

McDonald was voted into the role by her peers, and ratified by the club's board, to continue the leadership role. The defender has played 35 career games, joining the Cats' inaugural list in 2019 and is a key member of a strong backline.  

"It’s an incredible honour to lead the Cats again into this season, it’s a special feeling and one I never take for granted," McDonald said. 

Former number one draft pick Nina Morrison has also proven her leadership credentials, working back from two serious knee injuries to be an important member of the side both on and off the field. 

Nina Morrison (left) and Meg McDonald are all smiles after a win during round eight, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"To play the number of games Nina did last season was fantastic and she always sets the example on the track and off the field in the way she prepares for footy," Geelong head of AFLW and football pathways Brett Johnson said of Morrison. 

Julia Crocket-Grills, Georgie Rankin, Chantel Emonson and new addition Becky Webster form the remainder of the leadership group for season seven. 

"We feel that leadership within our whole playing group has grown, and our Club is proud to have these individuals continuing to support that growth and lead us on-field this season," Johnson said. 

Gold Coast

TARA Bohanna has continued a whirlwind 12 months by being named Gold Coast's captain for the upcoming AFL Women's season.

After being recruited from the VFLW Southern Saints last July, Bohanna made an immediate impact for the Suns, winning the goalkicking award and finishing in the top five at the best and fairest last season.

She will be deputised by Bess Keaney and Jamie Stanton, while Ellie Hampson has also been elevated into the four-strong leadership.

Read the full story here

Gold Coast's Tara Bohanna celebrates a goal during round three, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Greater Western Sydney

ALICIA Eva will captain GWS for the fourth straight season, with young star Alyce Parker elevated to the vice captaincy. 

Eva joined the Giants via a trade from Collingwood after the inaugural season, and immediately established herself as a hard-working leader, taking over the captaincy from Amanda Farrugia ahead of the 2020 campaign. 

"It’s an honour and a privilege to lead this club and that doesn’t ever diminish the longer I’m doing it," Eva said.  

"I’m so proud to lead this group out onto the field every week and to continue to drive and challenge each other to achieve what we want to achieve. It's a new era for the AFLW competition as we reach 18 teams for the first time, and it feels like a new chapter for the GIANTS." 

Alicia Eva and Alyce Parker pose for a photo at Drummoyne Oval on February 6, 2019. Picture: AFL Photos

Eva will be supported by Alyce Parker, who is taking on the role of vice-captain for the first time. The 21-year-old already boasts a stacked resume, including two All-Australian guernseys and the Giants' last three best and fairest awards. 

"This is a huge honour and I’m incredibly grateful to have the belief from my peers and staff," Parker said.   

"I love this club and I love this group of players and I’m so passionate about making sure we get the best out of each other and the success we have all been working so hard for, for a long time. As I’ve grown as a player, I’ve worked hard to make sure I’ve been able to grow as a leader too and ensure I’m not just playing my role on the field but also making others better along the way. 

"I’m excited to take my leadership to a new level in season seven and learn from one of the best captains in the competition in Alicia." 

Hawthorn

TILLY Lucas-Rodd has been named Hawthorn's inaugural AFLW captain.

It caps off a remarkable rise through the AFLW ranks for the 26-year-old, who started her AFLW career at Carlton in 2017 and was delisted at the conclusion of the 2019 season.

The midfielder was almost immediately thrown a lifeline by St Kilda, playing three seasons with the Saints before crossing to Hawthorn in June.

She is joined in the leadership group by vice-captain Jess Duffin, former Giant Lou Stephenson and VFLW co-captain Tamara Luke.

Read the full story here

Melbourne

Daisy Pearce will lead Melbourne for the sixth time, with Kate Hore newly appointed as vice captain. 

Pearce has played 42 career games, only missing through 2019 when pregnant with twins, and last year's Preliminary Final as she battled a knee injury. 

"We are really blessed to have Daisy as part of our team and our club, not just for her impact on-field but the way she carries herself and brings the group together," coach Mick Stinear said. 

"She has a great understanding of what her teammates need to thrive, and she continues to both challenge and inspire us all, in the pursuit of excellence. Daisy's appetite to grow, not only for herself but for those around her, is just incredible to watch." 

Hore has been elevated to vice-captain after being part of the leadership group in recent seasons, with Karen Paxman stepping down from the role in order to allow younger players to develop their leadership. 

"This season, 'Paxy' (Paxman) has made the decision to step down as vice-captain, which gives insight into her selfless nature," Stinear said. 

"She has been a massive support to Daisy and to our program since she started. She has grown as a person and as a leader and has shaped the program to where it is today. We have no doubt she will continue to go about her business as a natural leader. 

"'Paxy' would like to give others the chance to lead and develop in the role, and we are excited for Kate to now have that opportunity. 

"It is great recognition for Kate, who has put in a mountain of work and has a deep desire for this group to reach its full potential and be successful." 

Rounding out Melbourne's leadership group for season seven are young stars Tyla Hanks and Libby Birch.

North Melbourne

SIX TIME All-Australian Emma Kearney will once again lead North Melbourne this season. 

It's the fifth straight season that Kearney will take the helm, assisted by co-vice captains Emma King and Jasmine Garner. 

Ash Riddell, Nicole Bresnehan, Sarah Wright and Ellie Gavalas round out the leadership group, with the latter pair elevated to official leadership positions for the first time. 

"We are really fortunate as a club to have these players leading our group into season seven," North Melbourne head of AFLW Nathan Hrovat said. 

"This group, led by our outstanding captain Emma Kearney, set standards, lead by example and epitomise the values of our club. We are thrilled to see both Sarah Wright and Ellie Gavalas join the group. Both have made a significant impact to our AFLW program on-field and more broadly amongst their teammates. Their election into the leadership group is well deserved." 

Emma Kearney poses for a photo during North Melbourne's team photo day on July 30, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Port Adelaide

AFLW champion Erin Phillips will captain Port Adelaide in its inaugural season.

Phillips co-captained Adelaide from 2017 to 2020 alongside Chelsea Randall, and crossed to the Power ahead of their first season.

The 37-year-old will lead an experienced leadership group including ex-Adelaide vice-captain Ange Foley, former Gold Coast skipper Hannah Dunn, strong Indigenous leader Gemma Houghton and Adelaide premiership star Justine Mules.

Read the full story here

(L-R): Jusine Mules, Ange Foley, Erin Phillips, Gemma Houghton, and Hannah Dunn pose for a photo after being announced as Port Adelaide's inaugural AFLW leadership group. Picture: AFL Photos

Richmond

KATIE Brennan has been appointed Richmond captain for the fourth consecutive season, supported once again by Sarah Hosking as vice-captain.

Brennan has kicked 14 goals in each of the last two seasons to lead the Tigers' goalkicking and becomes just the third player to captain a side in every season since the competition began.

Meanwhile, Hosking will be vice-captain for the third straight season, making a big impact at the club since joining in 2020.

The duo will be supported by three-time All-Australian Monique Conti, defensive leader Bec Miller and ruck Gabby Seymour, who finished first, second and third respectively in the club's best and fairest last season.

"These five leaders are fierce competitors, (they are) actions based and value driven," coach Ryan Ferguson said.

"They drive standards, and they absolutely care for everyone in the room, our whole program, and our club. These girls embody what we aspire to have in a leader."

Monique Conti, Sarah Hosking, Katie Brenna and Jess Hosking at the Richmond AFLW team photo day on August 9, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

St Kilda

HANNAH Priest will continue at St Kilda captain into season seven, with supported by three other experienced players in the leadership group.

This will be Priest's third season leading the Saints, and the second as sole captain after sharing the duties with Kate Shierlaw, Cat Phillips and Rhi Watt in 2021. 

Shierlaw and reigning club best and fairest winner Bianca Jakobsson have been named as co-vice-captains, and Nicola Stevens completes the leadership group after recently making the move from Carlton. 

St Kilda captain Hannah Priest celebrate a win over Gold Coast during round eight, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"We’re extremely proud to have Hannah at the helm again," St Kilda head of AFLW Tessie McManus said. 

"Kate, Bianca and Nicola round-out our strong leadership team, each of them having proven their ability to influence and drive our group forward. We look forward to seeing their positive impact both on and off the field." 

St Kilda has also named an emerging leaders group comprising of Rosie Dillon, Nicola Xenos, Tarni White, Molly McDonald, Alice Burke and Hannah Stuart. 

Sydney 

SYDNEY has announced its first AFLW captains, opting for three players to share the job.

Maddy Collier, Brooke Lochland and the untried Lauren Szigeti have been voted in by players from a six-person leadership group.

Maddy Collier with the premiership cup ahead of season seven of AFLW. Picture: AFL Photos

Formerly the vice-captain of the Western Bulldogs, Lochland sets elite standards on and off the field.

"We are building something special and I'm excited to continue to shape our culture alongside the rest of the leadership group and the wider playing group," Lochland said.

Collier, who returned to Sydney after a stint in WA playing for West Coast, will now captain the side she grew up supporting.

Brooke Lochland poses at the SCG ahead of Sydney's inaugural AFLW season. Picture: AFL Photos

"I'm looking forward to helping influence this group in the best way I can, along with the other leaders, to ensure our inaugural year leaves a lasting legacy, that aligns with the wider club values and culture," Collier said.

And Szigeti, who had been overlooked in previous drafts and went back to VFLW level to improve her fitness, is the youngest of the trio at just 22.

Lauren Szigeti ahead of Sydney's first match in the AFLW. Picture: AFL Photos

"It's one of those things that's bigger than me as an individual, it's history making," she said.

"I'm so honoured to have the opportunity to hold this role and it means the world to me that I have the trust from my teammates, staff, and the club as a whole to play a special part in leading this team in our inaugural season."

West Coast

WEST Coast will again be led by Emma Swanson for the fourth consecutive season. 

Swanson is coming off a career-best season which saw her take out the Eagles' best and fairest award, added to the All-Australian squad and lead her side for clearances, disposals and inside 50s. 

She will again be supported by dual All-Australian Dana Hooker, who adds her 38 games of experience to Swanson's 35. Meanwhile, Aisling McCarthy rounds out the leadership group, after recently becoming a dual citizen of both Australia and Ireland. 

"Our leadership group has been fantastic driving standards, professionalism and all those things that come with being a leader. Obviously performance on-ground is a major part of it as well," West Coast coach Michael Prior said. 

The club has once again named a supporting leaders group, which includes Bella Lewis, Aimee Schmidt, Evie Gooch and Jess Sedunary. 

Western Bulldogs

STAR midfielder Ellie Blackburn will once again captain the Western Bulldogs in season seven after being voted in by the playing group. 

Blackburn is a three-time All-Australian, three-time Bulldogs best and fairest winner and premiership captain at the club. 

Kirsty Lamb, Bailey Hunt and new addition Katie Lynch will support Blackburn in the leadership group. 

"I personally can’t think of a better person to lead this team to where we want to go," head coach Nathan Burke said. 

Ellie Blackburn (centre) is seen during the Western Bulldogs' team photo day on August 3, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

"Ellie has all the qualities of a great leader and inspiring captain, which we’ve seen both on and off the field over the last four seasons. She drives our standards, leads by example and is willing to do anything for the team. 

"Joined by Lamby, Bailey and Lynchy, I have no doubts this leadership group will flourish and lift our entire playing group to another level this season.”