Patrick Cripps and Sam Docherty will be joint Carlton captains in 2019.
Patrick Cripps and Sam Docherty will be joint Carlton captains in 2019.

Who will captain your club in 2019?

THIRTEEN months ago, Taylor Walker was the toast of the competition.

Walker had just been named the best captain in the AFL by his peers for the second straight season and was set to lead the ladder-topping Crows on a premiership campaign.

Things can change quickly in footy.

Late this year "Tex" was being grilled by journalists about whether he should step down from the post after the Crows flopped on Grand Final day then crashed out of the finals.

"I really enjoy being captain, it's a great honour to be able to lead this great footy club," he told reporters. "And if I can continue to be captain for as long I as I can, then I will keep putting my hand up."

Could Adelaide make the decision for him? If they do, the Crows won't be the only club making changes at the top. One club has already named new leaders, another currently has no captain and several others must be asking some difficult questions.

Scroll down for our assessment of every club - and have your say by leaving a comment below.

ADELAIDE

Inaugural Crows coach Graham Cornes is one of the voices calling for change.

"I don't think there's any doubt there will be a change of captaincy at the end of the year," he told radio station FIVEaa. "I just think it's time. Tex has been a great off-field leader, at times he's been great on the field, but it's been such a miserable year."

The obvious replacement would be Rory Sloane, who has committed to the Crows until the end of 2023.

In August he said he was happy being vice-captain:

"I'm there to help Tex out absolutely all through this. I'll say it again: the stuff that Tex does inside these four walls is unbelievable and we couldn't have a better captain at the footy club."

 

Crows captain Taylor Walker and vice-captain Rory Sloane.
Crows captain Taylor Walker and vice-captain Rory Sloane.

 

BRISBANE LIONS

Dayne Beams stepped down as skipper mid-season and he won't be getting it back after walking out to rejoin Collingwood.

Dayne Zorko assumed the role with Harris Andrews as his deputy, an arrangement that is likely to continue in 2019.

 

CARLTON

The Blues got in early, naming new leaders at their best-and-fairest count in early October.

Patrick Cripps and Sam Docherty will be the first co-captains in the Blues' 154-year history after Marc Murphy stepped down following five years in the top job.

"It was pretty strongly felt across the board that both Doc and Crippa were the perfect pair to take this club into the future, with their leadership differences complementing each other strongly," Murphy said.

 

Carlton’s new co-captains Patrick Cripps and Sam Docherty.
Carlton’s new co-captains Patrick Cripps and Sam Docherty.

 

COLLINGWOOD

In 2016 there was a push to replace long-time leader Scott Pendlebury, with Mick McGuane leading a Taylor Adams for skipper campaign.

That talk went very quiet this year as Pendles led the Magpies to a surprise Grand Final appearance.

Adams, Steele Sidebottom, Jeremy Howe and Lynden Dunn were the other members of the Pies' 2018 leadership group.

Collingwood is lucky to have potential captains in Adams and Sidebottom waiting in the wings, but don't expect any moves this summer.

 

ESSENDON

Dyson Heppell has now had two years in the job and played his best season in 2018.

The Bombers' leadership group this year also included vice-captains Zach Merrett and Cale Hooker plus David Myers, Orazio Fantasia, Joe Daniher and Michael Hurley.

Could star recruit Dylan Shiel, or former teammate and 2018 Crichton medallist Devon Smith, land a spot next season?

 

FREMANTLE

Nat Fyfe has this job for as long as he wants it.

The superstar will captain the Dockers for the third season next year but there will be changes to his support crew, with leadership group member Lachie Neale now a Lion.

David Mundy, Aaron Sandilands, Michael Walters, Alex Pearce and Bradley Hill were the other members of the leadership group this year.

 

GEELONG

Joel Selwood has captained Geelong for more games than any other player in the club's history (he broke Reg Hickey's 78-year-old record in April) and he will extend his 162-game run next season, his eighth in charge.

The Cats' seven-man leadership group also included Patrick Dangerfield (vice-captain), Harry Taylor (deputy vice-captain), Mark Blicavs, Mitch Duncan, Scott Selwood and Zach Tuohy.

Tom Hawkins decided not to be part of the official leadership group and went on to kick 60 goals - more than enough to earn a recall if he wants it.

Wonder if Taylor will step aside next year.

 

Gold Coast’s 2018 co-captains Tom Lynch and Steven May will play for Richmond and Melbourne next year. Picture: Mike Batterham
Gold Coast’s 2018 co-captains Tom Lynch and Steven May will play for Richmond and Melbourne next year. Picture: Mike Batterham

 

GOLD COAST

The "situation vacant" sign is up after the Suns lost both co-captains Tom Lynch and Steven May in the trade and free agency circus.

They followed the departure of the previous skipper, Gary Ablett, a year earlier.

They are the only three men to ever captain the Suns so there will definitely be fresh blood in the role next season.

This year's leadership group featured eight players so there are a few candidates but Michael Barlow (delisted) and Matt Rosa (retired) can be crossed out.

Former No.1 draft pick David Swallow is favourite but Stuart Dew could make a statement by giving the job to young bull Touk Miller.

 

GWS GIANTS

Is there a more respected pair in the comp than Phil Davis and Callan Ward?

They have been joint captains since GWS entered the comp in 2012 and we can't see that changing any time soon.

 

HAWTHORN

One of the competition's most curious cases.

Jarryd Roughead has been skipper the past two seasons and is one of the most-loved players in the comp. But he missed the top 10 in the best-and-fairest this year and was considered a chance to leave the Hawks until Alastair Clarkson smoothed over a public debate he started by talking openly about Roughie's future.

If Roughie steps down, who takes over?

Liam Shiel and Isaac Smith were joint vice-captains this year and would be the leading candidates, with Smith overtaking Shiels this year as next in line.

Ben Stratton and Jack Gunston were also in the leadership group. Should the Brownlow medallist also be part of the discussion?

 

Will Jarryd Roughead lead the Hawks again next year?
Will Jarryd Roughead lead the Hawks again next year?

 

MELBOURNE

Jack Viney joined Nathan Jones as co-captain for 2017 after Jones led the club for three years. Is it now time for Viney to take over the job solo?

Coach Simon Goodwin moved Jones, who will be 31 in January, out of the centre square mid-season and Jones said he hoped the move would extend his career but he has less presence starting on a wing.

Viney battled a foot injury all season but was the Demons' best player in the finals after being rushed back for September.

"He's a freak, an absolute freak,'' teammate Christian Petracca said of Viney after a 27-disposal, 17-contested possession final against Hawthorn. "His inside work is some of the best I've ever seen."

It's only a matter of time until he leads the Demons on his own. Is that time now?

 

NORTH MELBOURNE

Jack Ziebell has led the Roos for the past two years and is likely to hold the position for a few years to come.

Robbie Tarrant was Ziebell's vice-captain this year with Jamie Macmillan and Shaun Higgins also in the leadership group.

Ben Cunnington and Ben Brown are also worthy candidates but if the Roos don't want a nine-man leadership group, that's fine with us.

 

Is Jack Viney ready to take on the Demons captain job solo?
Is Jack Viney ready to take on the Demons captain job solo?

 

PORT ADELAIDE

Travis Boak has captained the Power for six seasons after he was appointed when Ken Hinkley arrived as coach.

He's one of the AFL's lower profile leaders and has finished ninth in Port's best-and-fairest in the past two seasons.

A change to the newly resigned Ollie Wines wouldn't surprise as Hinkley needs to shake things up to get the best out of an underperforming group.

 

RICHMOND

Remember when Trent Cotchin's captaincy was questioned?

In August he was voted captain of the year by AFL players in a landslide, polling 181 more votes than joint runners-up Shannon Hurn and Scott Pendlebury.

Cotchin's triumph came one year after he admitted that he considered relinquishing the Richmond captaincy.

"I remember sitting with my wife after last year and telling her: 'I'll give this captaincy thing one more year and if it doesn't go well, if we bomb out again or we don't get it right, we are going to see if someone else can do the job,'' Cotchin said at the Tigers' 2017 best and fairest awards night.

The leadership model of Cotchin backed by vice-captains Jack Riewoldt and Alex Rance has proven about as successful as you could possibly hope, but it will be interesting to see if the Tigers opt to give the next generation of leaders - Nick Vlastuin is seen as a future captain - a formal role in 2019.

 

ST KILDA

Speaking of low-profile skippers, who can name the Saints captain without reading the next paragraph?

To say Jarryn Geary goes about his work with a minimum of fuss is an understatement, but he has finished top five in the B&F in his two years in the job and you can't question his commitment to the cause.

But even Geary has admitted the title of captain doesn't sit comfortably with him after taking over from legend Nick Riewoldt.

If the Saints want a higher-profile leader, four-time best-and-fairest winner Jack Steven is the obvious candidate - if he wants the job. Steven was a member of the leadership group this year but doesn't exactly jump at media opportunities.

Seb Ross would be a safe choice.

 

Is it time for St Kilda to replace Jarryn Geary in the drivers seat? Picture: Michael Klein
Is it time for St Kilda to replace Jarryn Geary in the drivers seat? Picture: Michael Klein

 

SYDNEY

Josh Kennedy has led the Swans for the past two seasons and seems safe as houses in the job.

This year his vice-captains were Luke Parker, Dane Rampe and new Saint Dan Hannebery, with Kieren Jack, Jarrad McVeigh and Nick Smith rounding out the leadership group.

It could be time for some fresh blood - Isaac Heeney, Callum Mills and best-and-fairest winner Jake Lloyd all have claims.

And if you listen to the All-Australian selectors, Lance Franklin should have the top job.

 

WEST COAST

Shannon Hurn has the job for life after leading the Eagles to the premiership.

He had a pretty good season too, finishing third in the club's best-and-fairest.

Hurn is 31 so there will have to be a change some time soon, but there won't be too many sleepless nights for Adam Simpson and Co with vice-captain and Norm Smith medallist Luke Shuey and fellow leadership group members Josh Kennedy, Andrew Gaff and Jeremy McGovern all capable leaders.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS

Is it Bont time?

Easton Wood led the Dogs to a drought-breaking flag in 2016 as a stand-in for Bob Murphy and was stand-alone skipper for the first time in 2018.

But he never got a decent run at it, suffering a serious hamstring injury that restricted him to just 12 games.

Marcus Bontempelli stepped into the job for the second half of the year - although that didn't go entirely smoothly either, with Bont missing two games himself with injury. The captain's armband was handed to Lachie Hunter for Rounds 17 and 18.

Hunter went on to win the best-and-fairest but Bont is the heir apparent and the timing seems right at age 22 (23 in November) and 104 games into a career Dog fans will rival the club's greats.

 

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge chats to skipper Easton Wood.
Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge chats to skipper Easton Wood.


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