West Coast will embark on its second AFLW campaign with inaugural captain Emma Swanson at the helm.
The playing group voted Swanson in for a second term, a decision that was ratified by the club’s board.
Dana Hooker will again serve as vice-captain following an inspiring first year at the Eagles that saw her claim the club’s maiden Club Champion Award at season’s end.
The leadership group remains largely unchanged for 2021, with Courtney Guard and Alicia Janz returning for a second stint.
However, there is one new addition to the team, with ruck Parris Laurie being elevated to a formal leadership position.
West Coast has also appointed two emerging leaders, midfielders Mikayla Bowen and Hayley Bullas, who will be given an opportunity to develop their leadership skills alongside their senior counterparts.
Head of female football Adam Selwood expected the team to benefit from having some familiar faces leading the way in 2021.
“I think having consistency with the leadership group is really positive for the program,” Selwood said.
“Player input is important in the process, because they see and feel the leadership their teammates provide on a daily basis. To give them an opportunity to vote is fantastic and when the board saw that Emma, Dana, Courtney and Alicia were voted in as leaders again they felt that’s what the program really needed.
“As for Parris, she has been in leadership roles before and she has a strong presence in the team. I think she is really going to add to the group and help us get to where we want to be with our development over the coming seasons.”
Senior coach Daniel Pratt said the elected leaders had been standout out performers on and off the training track in recent weeks.
“Last year was a unique experience and everyone was excited to get their hands dirty, but now I feel like they understand what is expected of them as leaders and they have really been proactive with how they have dealt with the start of pre-season, particularly around creating a supported environment and setting standards,” Pratt said.
“Swanny and Hooks have been leading the charge along with so many other girls. It’s pleasing to see that they’ve taken those steps so quickly.”
Swanson was excited to lead the Eagles again in 2021 and said she was eager to help the squad take the next step in its AFLW journey with the assistance of her leadership group colleagues.
“I think it will be great to roll into this year with four existing members of last year’s leadership group and the addition of Parris,” Swanson said.
“‘Paz’ has grown as a person and a player and she definitely had a breakout year in 2020, not just on-field but off-field as well.
“To have the group confirmed this early in the piece will help all of us. Now we can go about our business and I can just keep being myself and the other girls can be themselves.
“We’ve got such a good group of leaders and we’re looking forward to driving the team forward ahead of our second dip in the competition.”
WEST COAST EAGLES 2021 LEADERSHIP GROUP
Captain: Emma Swanson
Vice-captain: Dana Hooker