The GWS Giants have named a diverse batch of eight players to lead the club into their first AFL season. Coach Kevin Sheedy has selected three co-captains – with 282 game, three time premiership player Luke Power, Callan Ward and Phil Davis, both 21 years old, with 60 and 18 games respectively – backed by a leadership group of five players to lead the AFL’s newest team.
Callan Ward – who has become the sixth youngest ever AFL captain – told reporters of how he “always had aspirations to be a leader” and how the appointment fulfils a childhood dream to captain a football club. He also becomes the first fully-bearded captain since Michael Tuck in 1991.
Canberra born Phil Davis, who with just 18 AFL games is the least experienced captain since 1932, has already been likened to former Bombers leader, and also Canberra born James Hird by Sheedy. Davis – who was the first player signed by GWS – was praised by Sheedy who noted he “has taken a risk too. I like it when a person is prepared to take a risk at such a young age to come here and build a club”.
Luke Power, with three premierships and fourteen seasons of AFL football, was lured out of retirement by the Giants, and as well as the on-field co-captaincy will be the Giants forward line coach. The 32 year old acknowledges his mentoring role saying “this year is all about me helping out these two and helping them become the best that they can be”.
The five-strong leadership group comprises a similar blend of youth and experience with Dean Brogan, Chad Cornes and Setanta O’hAilpin alongside Fremantle recruit Rhys Palmer and the six-year-signed 2009 rising star Tom Scully.
Sheedy has backed the “good blend” of players, and admits to borrowing from the successful leadership model of their Sydney sporting siblings the Swans. Giant’s chairman Tony Sheppard prefaced the captaincy announcement believing the three “will provide first class leadership and support for the club both on and off the field as we build a team that can compete for ultimate success in the years to come”.