Follow the leader: Your club's 2020 captain and leadership group

WHO WILL lead your AFLW club in season 2020? 

This article will be continually updated with clubs' leadership groups as they are announced. 

FULL FIXTURE Every round, every game

ADELAIDE

ADELAIDE ruck Jess Foley and defenders Marijana Rajcic and Sarah Allan are the new additions to the Crows' five-player leadership group.

Last year's joint vice-captains Courtney Cramey and Angela Foley retain their places in the group, supporting co-captains Chelsea Randall and Erin Phillips.

With Randall out for the season with a torn ACL and Phillips recovering from a knee reconstruction and in doubt for round one, the Crows will likely need a stand-in captain for part of the season.

The Crows don't have a vice-captain for the 2020 season.

"I have done the same process many times throughout 15 years in football and usually there is a more distinct break between the top vote-getters and the remainder of the team," Crows coach Matthew Clarke said.

"It’s a real positive that we have five players all nominated closely within a couple of votes of each other, so we’ve decided to go for an expanded group and we’re comfortable with that."

Chelsea Randall and Erin Phillips celebrate the 2019 AFLW premiership. Picture: AFL Photos

BRISBANE

What was old is new again in Brisbane, with Emma Zielke being named captain of the Lions' AFL Women's team ahead of the 2020 season. 

Zielke captained Brisbane in 2017 and 2018 before Leah Kaslar – who will play for fledgling Gold Coast next year – took over the role last season. 

The 31-year-old was voted in by her teammates and was informed before training on Wednesday night. 

"I’m proud and honoured to be captain of the club I love and have been a part of for the past four years," Zielke said. 

"I’m excited to see what this group can do in 2020." 

Joining her for the first time in the role of vice-captain is Sharni Webb, also an inaugural player and member of last year’s leadership group. 

Breanna Koenen has been elevated to the leadership group for the first time in her career and will be joined by Kate Lutkins and Emily Bates

All five women in the leadership group have been with the Lions since their introduction in 2016. 

CARLTON

With Brianna Davey moving to arch-rivals Collingwood, Carlton had to elect a new skipper.

And the Blues have chosen to go with two, with All Australian defender Kerryn Harrington and veteran midfielder Katie Loynes (vice-captain in 2019) set to take the reins.

Alison DownieNicola Stevens and Sarah Hosking - all fourth-year AFLW players - round out the leadership group.

Katie Loynes and Kerryn Harrington will lead the Blues in 2020

COLLINGWOOD

Foundation skipper Steph Chiocci will again captain the side for a fourth season.

New recruit Brianna Davey and Ash Brazill will support Chiocci as vice-captains.

Steph Chiocci will lead the Pies again. Picture: AFL Photos

FREMANTLE

Kara Antonio will captain the Dockers for a fourth consecutive season in a largely similar leadership group to previous years.

Ebony Antonio, Gabby O’Sullivan and Kiara Bowers will all continue their leadership roles, but there is a new face with Hayley Miller voted in her by her peers.

"I'm obviously really excited, it’s probably something I’ve been working towards for the last couple of years," Miller said.

"Although I don’t feel like I need the title as such to show my leadership skills, to be voted in by your peers is something I hold in very high regard.

"I'm really excited, and the responses from the girls and the staff so far have been really positive."

The Dockers' leadership group for 2020. Picture: fremantlefc.com.au

GEELONG

Skipper Melissa Hickey will lead the Cats for a second consecutive season, while star defender Meghan McDonald has been promoted to vice-captain. 

McDonald has been rewarded for her superb 2019 season where she won the club's inaugural best and fairest award and was named at full-back in the 2019 Virgin Australia AFLW All Australian side.

Aasta O'Connor, Renee Garing and Jordan Ivey (who co-captained the club's VFLW side in 2019) round our the five-player leadership group.

"The players have done a lot of work together across the pre-season in setting expectations around our values, which formed the basis for the players when voting in the player leadership group," head of women's football Simone Bellears said.

"We are pleased to have finalised the AFLW player leadership group for 2020. It’s fantastic to see Melissa Hickey continue as captain, we know that her passion and leadership qualities will continue to unite the group going forward.

"We are also excited to see Meg McDonald named as vice-captain, recognition of the significant impact she has had on our playing group in such a short amount of time. Her impact on-field speaks for itself, and her impact off-field has been just as significant."

The Cats' 2020 leadership group. Picture: geelongcats.com.au

GOLD COAST

Leah Kaslar and Sam Virgo will be Gold Coast's inaugural co-captains for the 2020 season.

The pair have a combined 36 games of AFLW experience and have both held leadership roles int he past.

Tiarna Ernst, Sally Riley and Jamie Stanton round out the rest of the five-player leadership group.

"I'm really proud to be an inaugural captain of the AFLW team," Kaslar told the Suns website.

"I've supported the Suns since the inception of the club in 2011 and back then I never even thought there’d be a women’s team so it’s quite unreal to be the captain.

"I'll do my best to make the club and the Gold Coast proud."

Leah Kaslar is one of the Suns' inaugural captains. Picture: Getty Images

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 

Three new faces will join the Giants' leadership group under new captain Alicia Eva.

Cora Staunton, Pepa Randall and Britt Tully have been elevated to leadership roles for the first time, while Jessica Dal Pos will continue in that role for the fourth straight year.

The Giants have elected not to have a vice-captain this year, with the four deputies sharing that duty.

"Obviously it's a huge honour, it's my third year here now and I never expected to be in this position," Staunton said.

"To be voted in by your teammates is huge and I'm looking forward to working together with the rest of the girls. 

"It's a very experienced leadership group led by our captain Alicia, and Jess Dal Pos has been in it for a number of years and it's great to see both Britt and Pepa elevated after being at the club for a number of years."

Of last year's leadership group, Tanya Hetherington has stepped away from the role but will work with the team's future leaders program, while Emma Swanson and Christina Bernadi have left the club.

The Giants have unveiled their five-player leadership group. Picture: gwsgiants.com.au

MELBOURNE

Superstar midfielder Daisy Pearce will take charge of the Demons for a third season.

She will be supported by vice-captain Karen Paxman, as the club opts for a two-person leadership group in a change from previous seasons.

Pearce is making her return to the field in 2020 after missing last season due to the birth of her twins.

Senior coach Mick Stinear said Pearce's reappointment as skipper was an obvious choice.

"Daisy has, and continues to, inspire this group, and that's both players and staff who are involved in the program," he told Melbourne Media.

"That's by the way she acts on and off the field, but we talk about the 'Melbourne person' being hardworking, humble, competitive and resilient and she embodies those qualities.

"With her knowledge of our game plan, and her ability to instruct, support and give feedback on and off the field, she's just the ideal person to lead this group."

Stinear said the decision to have only two leaders would benefit the entire group.

"We're blessed to have a lot of quality leaders at our club and the reason we've gone for a concise leadership group is because we feel these two best represent our team," he said.

"We want to encourage our other leaders to continue to drive and challenge each other, to improve and raise the standard of our team throughout the season."

Daisy Pearce and Karen Paxman take charge of the Demons. Picture: AFL Photos

NORTH MELBOURNE 

Premier midfielder Emma Kearney will lead the side once again.

Jasmine Garner has been promoted to vice-captain, having missed out on the leadership group entirely in the 2019 season. 

"Jas Garner as vice-captain is a great move for us. She has a really gentle approach to players and works really hard on her game," Kearney said.

"She wasn’t in the leadership group last year and I think she’s really proud of the fact that she’s been chosen, and we’re proud of her as well." 

Ruck Emma King and resolute defender Britt Gibson round out the leadership group for a second successive year. 

Youngsters Ash Riddell and Tahlia Randall have been named as "emerging leaders".

Emma Kearney will again lead the Kangaroos. Picture: AFL Photos

RICHMOND

Richmond has announced star recruit Katie Brennan as its inaugural captain for the 2020 season.

The 27-year-old was the Tigers' first signing in April, joining the club from the Western Bulldogs where she was captain for three seasons.

Christina Bernardi (vice captain), Lauren Tesoriero and Phoebe Monahan (deputy vice captains) will provide valuable support to Brennan in the four-player leadership group.

"I think we represent the girls really well across the board, we're all slightly different," Brennan said

"'Pheebs' is the standard-setter at the club, she prepares incredibly well, she leads with her actions out there and she will represent us in the backline."

"Lauren is incredible, not only has she formed this group and brought everyone together, she's also someone that makes this team and this place feel like more than a football club, it's more like a family."

"'Benno', she's an incredible person...she's amazing at bringing the girls together and really representing our group. She challenges the girls but she also inspires them."

Richmond's leadership group for 2020. Picture: richmondfc.com.au

ST KILDA

The Saints have opted for a three-pronged leadership team in their inaugural AFLW season with Rhiannon Watt, Kate Shierlaw and Cat Phillips given the honour. 

St Kilda coach Peta Searle said the trio of captains had worked well in the club's VFL team last year and it was a natural progression to take the structure into the AFW season. 

"We've found that the female players really respond to shared leadership, which promotes greater connection and autonomy, rather than one you would find in a traditional hierarchical system," Searle said. 

"The part-time professional nature of AFLW allows for multiple captains to share accountabilities for duties and we’re really excited to apply it."

In addition to the three skippers, the Saints have an additional five players - all of whom have AFLW experience - in their leadership group.

Ali Drennan, Nat Exon, Tilly Lucas-Rodd, Kate McCarthy and Jess Sedunary will help support the fledgling side.

WEST COAST

Emma Swanson returned home from Greater Western Sydney after three injury-affected years and will be the club's first AFLW captain.

She will be supported by star midfielder Dana Hooker as vice-captain.

The three other members of the leadership group - Maddy CollierCourtney Guard and Alicia Janz - have all been on AFLW lists before, adding experience to the inaugural side.

WESTERN BULLDOGS

Ellie Blackburn has been named as the sole captain for the Western Bulldogs for 2020.

She has previously shared the leadership duties with Katie Brennan for the first three AFLW seasons, before the forward departed for Richmond during the 2019 AFLW Trade and Signing period.

Brooke Lochland has been named vice-captain, while Lauren Spark, Isabel Huntington, Kirsty Lamb and Hannah Scott round out the leadership group.

Bulldogs coach Nathan Burke set new leadership parameters for the upcoming season after taking over from Paul Groves.

"I’m really excited and extremely proud to be named captain again, particularly considering it is not only voted on by our entire player group, but also following new criteria implemented by Nathan," Blackburn said.

"From the outset, Nathan has been very honest with me and the entire player group regarding what he values most in regard to certain values and behaviours, and I’ve since put a lot of time and effort into my leadership and personal growth."

Burke had open conversations with Blackburn about what he wanted out of his club leaders at the end of last year, which has in turn lead the skipper to new levels over the pre-season

"When Ellie and I sat down at the start of the pre-season to discuss the captaincy process, I was very honest with her and told her I’d be re-setting our leadership criteria, including throwing it open again to the group," Burke said.

"We wanted the captain to be the player who best lives and drives certain values and behaviours, and she has not only responded and risen to the challenge, but also provided great support and guidance to our players, in particular our young and emerging players."

"By the end of the process it was pretty much unanimous that the players wanted Ellie to be their captain. It’s due reward for an outstanding pre-season."