With representatives from all 18 clubs coming together for the annual AFL Captains Day on Wednesday, our thoughts turned to leadership – a quality that can reveal itself in many forms.
With that in mind, we asked three of the game’s new skippers – Tom Rockliff (Brisbane Lions), Taylor Walker (Adelaide Crows) and Shannon Hurn (West Coast Eagles) – and North Melbourne captain Andrew Swallow a few left-of-centre leadership-inspired questions.
Which teammate would appoint himself captain of his own supercoach team?
North Melbourne skipper Andrew Swallow
“There wouldn’t be too many of them, because there aren’t too many who score too well and they all take their SuperCoach pretty seriously! Probably Boomer – if he did it, he’d probably name himself captain. That’s about it. The other guys don’t score too well.”
Brisbane Lions skipper Tom Rockliff
“Dayne Zorko would. He’d definitely make himself captain. Dayne Beams probably would as well. They’re probably the two main ones.”
Adelaide skipper Taylor Walker
“Paddy Dangerfield would probably put himself as SuperCoach captain.”
West Coast Eagles skipper Shannon Hurn
“I reckon Chris Masten. Chris Masten would reckon he’d go alright.”
which teammate could be the captain of your side’s cheer-squad?
“Rory Sloane. I reckon they’d follow him. He’d be the one to ignite and get all the cheer-squad together.”
“Jack Redden would lead the cheer-squad well. I think he’d really enjoy making the banners and singing the chants.”
“Jeez, that’s a good one. Mitch Brown. He rates himself as a bit of a dancer, so he’d give it a good go.”
“Scott McMahon. He’s a very interesting unit, so I think he’d settle in very well with the cheer-squad.”
which teammate would be best placed to ‘captain’ the country (as Prime Minister)?
“Beau Waters was always the one, but he’s retired now. Josh Kennedy would actually do a very good job, I reckon.”
“At our club? We haven’t got a really highly intelligent group, so I’m not sure if you’d want any of our boys leading the country! Probably Brent Staker or someone like that would rate himself as a good PM.”
“I’d probably go for Leigh Adams. He’d be the man.”
“James Podsiadly, I reckon. He’d love that kind of role. Very smart fella. Intelligent, switched on – he’d be the one.”
Which younger teammate could captain the club in the years ahead?
“There are a few good young leaders coming through. Lewis Taylor is an outstanding player and hopefully he can continue to improve. We have a few younger boys who really want to be involved in the leadership side of things so it is good – we’re in a good place with a pretty young list.”
“Lewis Taylor is an outstanding player and hopefully he can continue to improve” – Tom Rockliff
“It’s always hard because everyone learns and develops differently along the way. Scotty Selwood’s certainly coming along quite well. Chris Masten’s improved himself as a leader now, which is really pleasing.
“For the young blokes, it’s really hard [to tip one] because they’re just trying to find their way to feeling comfortable at AFL and making sure their game’s going right. But Jack Darling and Jeremy McGovern both have a bit of influence and a bit of an aura about them amongst the young blokes. There’s a few blokes that could do it.”
“There are a couple of obvious guys – Jack Ziebell being one, and he’s in sort of the right age bracket to come along.
The other one who has probably surprised a couple with his ability to lead, and he’s been a bit unlucky with injuries last year, is Jamie MacMillan. He’s stepped up into our leadership group. Those are the two guys that’ll probably be pushing for the gig when I step down in the last couple of years.”
“Anyone in the six of the leadership group could probably be captain, but obviously there are guys who will grow as they start playing AFL footy. There’ll be a few names that come up in the next few years.”