Two-time All Australian Meghan McDonald will become the longest serving Geelong AFLW captain, when she leads the team for a third consecutive year in Season 7.
McDonald will lead a six-woman leadership group with Nina Morrison re-elected vice-captain, and Julia Crockett-Grills, Georgie Rankin, Chantel Emonson and new face Becky Webster also part of the group.
The appointment of the Club’s leaders was a player-led process with the squad and key staff nominating and voting on candidates before the Board provided the final endorsement.
In her fifth season with the Cats, McDonald has played 31 games in the hoops and continues to be the general in defence with her intercept marking and defending capabilities.
“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.
“While we may be the official leaders, our job is to emphasise and create the environment for the whole squad to lead and be inspired to lead.”
Vice-captain Morrison has been part of the Cats leadership group for the past two seasons, and has demonstrated how important she is to the team with her inside contest work and outside run, when she returned to the field in Season 6 after her second knee reconstruction.
Defender Rankin who has played 23 games in five seasons, becomes part of the leadership group for the second time.
Crockett-Grills joined the Cats in 2019 and been a mainstay in the team, becoming the second Cat to celebrate 25 club games in the past season. This will be her second season in the leadership group.
Emonson joined for Season 6 and played all 10 games, making an immediate impact in the midfield and pushing back to help in defence when needed. The now 29-year-old was elevated straight into the leadership group within months of arriving at GMHBA Stadium, and returns for a second season in the group.
Elevated to the leadership group for the first time, Webster had a standout Season 6, which saw her finish runner-up in the Club’s Best and Fairest award and be named in the AFL Players’ Association AFLW 22under22 team for a second consecutive season.
Geelong Head of AFLW and Football Pathways Brett Johnson congratulated the players on their appointment.
“We are very fortunate to have a strong group of leaders who are driving our standards from within to be the catalyst and seize opportunity in Season 7,” Johnson said.
“Meg has done an outstanding job as captain the last two seasons and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have her as captain again.
“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.
“Julia, Georgie and Chantel have done a fantastic job of connecting with the playing group and will continue to build on what they have helped to put in place during last season.
“Becky is an exciting and emerging young talent who took her game to another level in Season 6. She has approached pre-season with a terrific mindset and as a leader she’s starting to bring her teammates along with her.
“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.”
Geelong’ Season 7 campaign starts with a Round 1 blockbuster at GMHBA Stadium against Richmond on Sunday 28 August at 4.10pm.
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