Opinion 2021 Captaincy and Leadership Group

Choose your 2021 Leadership Group (max. 7):

  • Dyson Heppell

    Votes: 33 78.6%
  • Michael Hurley

    Votes: 22 52.4%
  • Cale Hooker

    Votes: 10 23.8%
  • David Zaharakis

    Votes: 2 4.8%
  • Dylan Shiel

    Votes: 27 64.3%
  • Devon Smith

    Votes: 8 19.0%
  • Zach Merrett

    Votes: 35 83.3%
  • Kyle Langford

    Votes: 15 35.7%
  • Sam Draper

    Votes: 3 7.1%
  • Andrew McGrath

    Votes: 40 95.2%
  • Jordan Ridley

    Votes: 15 35.7%
  • Darcy Parish

    Votes: 6 14.3%
  • Jake Stringer

    Votes: 3 7.1%
  • Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Will Snelling

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    42

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Squeaky

All Australian
Oct 4, 2005
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I'm also on the no leadership group side.
It's a load of crap and doesn't suit where we are at.
We have no leadership on the field, so why even pretend...
 

eth-dog

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Modern footy teams are divided into lines, each of which has their own coach and who do most of their training etc together. It makes sense to have leaders in each so a leadership group makes sense too.
Those players will naturally lead anyway so it's irrelevant whether or not they're in a group.
 

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Bunk Moreland

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Sep 22, 2011
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Those players will naturally lead anyway so it's irrelevant whether or not they're in a group.
Well yes they will, but it’s hardly irrelevant. You appoint people who you trust to lead and deliver the message you need. Formalised leadership structures are pretty critical, you want people to know their place and know exactly who they should be listening to.

Are we seriously questioning leadership and organisational theory that is used in pretty much every organisation in the world?

Is there suddenly no such thing as chain of command?

The forwards, mids and backs are each groups of 10-15 players. Of course you have leaders in each.
 

owen87

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 23, 2016
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Are we seriously questioning leadership and organisational theory that is used in pretty much every organisation in the world?
But in my amateur cricket team they didn't need a leadership group, so yes, apparently.

It's also a recognition of appropriate standards - training, in-game, on-field, off-field - as much as you are building out the chain of communication.

Head Coach > Line Coaches > Leadership Group > Players et al.

With a number of different people involved through the chain, with limited runners in-game, with large periods of time not spent at the club also being very important, I don't see how people assume leaders aren't important.

Are Selwood and Hodge not a key component of their teams success over time? Is formal recognition of the way they go about it not important?

If we had Hodge or Selwood in the side, but appointed party boy Sydney Stack as the Captain, do people think that wouldn't change how the players go about things, or the expectations and standards they believe are appropriate?
 

Bunk Moreland

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But in my amateur cricket team they didn't need a leadership group, so yes, apparently.

It's also a recognition of appropriate standards - training, in-game, on-field, off-field - as much as you are building out the chain of communication.

Head Coach > Line Coaches > Leadership Group > Players et al.

With a number of different people involved through the chain, with limited runners in-game, with large periods of time not spent at the club also being very important, I don't see how people assume leaders aren't important.

Are Selwood and Hodge not a key component of their teams success over time? Is formal recognition of the way they go about it not important?

If we had Hodge or Selwood in the side, but appointed party boy Sydney Stack as the Captain, do people think that wouldn't change how the players go about things, or the expectations and standards they believe are appropriate?
I get the frustration from people because as a club I think we’ve made some pretty stupid leadership appointments and as everybody has noted, it’s been a revolving door.

But the answer isn’t to have no formal leaders. 1-2 players per line is fine for a group of 10-15 players imo.

This year we had Heppell and Shiel in the midfield, Zaharakis in the forward line, Hurley in the backline and Smith, who spent time across all lines.
 

owen87

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 23, 2016
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I get the frustration from people because as a club I think we’ve made some pretty stupid leadership appointments and as everybody has noted, it’s been a revolving door.

But the answer isn’t to have no formal leaders. 1-2 players per line is fine for a group of 10-15 players imo.
Personally I'd say you need (at a minimum): Captain, Vice-Captain, Young Leader. These are the guys who represent the club in the media, but should also be the standard setters in terms of preparation, training, implementation of the game plan.

You also want an experienced leader or two for each line group, that could be partly covered by your C + VC depending on where they play. These are the guys who should be the go-to in-game for the runners, that can then organise and coordinate setup throughout the game - think Luke Hodge organising Hawthorn or Brisbane in-game type stuff.

I'm a fan of taking a young player like McGrath as a conduit for the younger guys coming in to the club to look to, as well as building them in to a Captain for the future.

So, assuming everyone is fit I wouldn't be averse to something like:

Heppell (C + MID)
Saad (VC + DEF)
McGrath (Young + MID)

Smith (DEF / MID)
Shiel (MID)
<insert forward player> (FWD?)

We don't really have a natural person in the forward-line that I can picture dictating structures to the guys around them; Stringer? Daniher? Tipungwuti? None really strike me as the kind to be shouting at the guys to get on the mark, to fill the zone etc..

Smith could be that guy, if he was playing forward, but I also think he's been good in that pseudo-HBF role as his movement out of defence is much more creative than some of our other guys.

Heppell should also recuse himself if he's not likely to be 100% fit and capable of playing a full season, in my opinion. Saad I think has been a shining example of a bloke who turns up every week, gives 100%, is always physically well prepared, is clear best-22, and appears to play whatever role is asked of him even if it means sacrificing his own game.
 

eth-dog

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Well yes they will, but it’s hardly irrelevant. You appoint people who you trust to lead and deliver the message you need. Formalised leadership structures are pretty critical, you want people to know their place and know exactly who they should be listening to.

Are we seriously questioning leadership and organisational theory that is used in pretty much every organisation in the world?

Is there suddenly no such thing as chain of command?

The forwards, mids and backs are each groups of 10-15 players. Of course you have leaders in each.
If I'm a young bloke entering a club as a midfielder, what do I care whether or not Shiel or Heppell are appointed to some abritrary leadership group? They're the guys I go to to ask advice and look for leadership from anyway.

At AFL level everyone knows who you are anyway. Do you honestly think that players won't lead the team just because they're not part of the "leadership group"? Look at Merrett this year, he was booted from the LG and has been one of our best leaders. McGrath wasn't part of it this year and he lead by example, same with Adam Saad. Cale Hooker has been one of our best leaders for the past half a dozen years and even though he's been left out the last couple has that stopped him from being a leader?

There are four examples of leaders who haven't let their lack of position in some arbritrary group define the fact that they're amongst the clubs best leaders.
 

Mr Bultitude

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Jul 20, 2019
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Structural leadership more important than ever. Back in the day players held down jobs alongside semi pro sport, they had more exposure to the world and had more opportunity for self leadership.

Clubs these days made up of kids straight from school who will live/eat/breathe footy, some far away from friends and family.
 

Dero

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Jan 22, 2013
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I'm on the record already about leadership groups being a waste of time.

In terms of the current Captaincy i think the main concern here is Heppell being best 22. Personally i think he will be but they don't set up for a plodding ball winner and we don't need a Captain in reserves misread in 2021.

Assuming he's best 22 then it might be worth Rutten telling Heppell how he wants it done and if there's agreement then give him another year. He definitely plays like a leader even if the optics are sometimes dubious.

McGrath is already taking a leadership role by following instructions and playing how we want. No point loading him up with other rubbish now when he still has a lot of work to do on his own game. If they really want a fresh start from Heppell then maybe go to Shiel for a year or two or Saad assuming he stays.

If McGrath is the man moving forward then perhaps make him Vice Captain. If that's not decided yet then do something different and don't have a VC (agreeing with Eth here).
LOL
 

Bunk Moreland

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If I'm a young bloke entering a club as a midfielder, what do I care whether or not Shiel or Heppell are appointed to some abritrary leadership group? They're the guys I go to to ask advice and look for leadership from anyway.

At AFL level everyone knows who you are anyway. Do you honestly think that players won't lead the team just because they're not part of the "leadership group"? Look at Merrett this year, he was booted from the LG and has been one of our best leaders. McGrath wasn't part of it this year and he lead by example, same with Adam Saad. Cale Hooker has been one of our best leaders for the past half a dozen years and even though he's been left out the last couple has that stopped him from being a leader?

There are four examples of leaders who haven't let their lack of position in some arbritrary group define the fact that they're amongst the clubs best leaders.
There’s leadership and there’s leadership. Football these days is extremely structural and out on the field, there’s a hell of a lot more to do than cracking in hard, playing well and giving advice to young players.

Different blokes shouting instructions is a recipe for disaster.

I don’t know what you do for a job, but if it’s at a biggish organisation, go find somebody who’s responsible for 40+ people and ask him/her what it’d be like to have no direct reports or chain of command. Just everybody doing their thing and those who want to lead can lead. No thanks.
 

Swerving Irv

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Dec 2, 2019
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As much as I don't like him, who among our players has the capacity to completely change the way they play and lead ala Trent Cotchin? He went from being as vanilla chip scab merchant as the most Essington of players to developing a kamikaze, brutal attack on the footy and the man as Dylan Shiel could attest. I don't see McGrath as having the physicality to be able to do that. Nor Dylan Shiel. Heppell never shirks the issue but I have continuous flashbacks to the day Hodge made absolute mincemeat of him, and he's got the aggression of a neutered bulldog.

Shiel's about as tough as wet cardboard so rule him out. Paddy Ambrose for a season or two? Probably too quiet.
There is honestly no-one on our entire list I'd be happy with as captain other than maybe Hooker. It's so bereft of obvious leaders that it's not funny.

*Stringer as a VC if we can find another captain? Might take his game to the next level.
 

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owen87

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Apr 23, 2016
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As much as I don't like him, who among our players has the capacity to completely change the way they play and lead ala Trent Cotchin? He went from being as vanilla chip scab merchant as the most Essington of players to developing a kamikaze, brutal attack on the footy and the man as Dylan Shiel could attest. I don't see McGrath as having the physicality to be able to do that. Nor Dylan Shiel. Heppell never shirks the issue but I have continuous flashbacks to the day Hodge made absolute mincemeat of him, and he's got the aggression of a neutered bulldog.

Shiel's about as tough as wet cardboard so rule him out. Paddy Ambrose for a season or two? Probably too quiet.
There is honestly no-one on our entire list I'd be happy with as captain other than maybe Hooker. It's so bereft of obvious leaders that it's not funny.

*Stringer as a VC if we can find another captain? Might take his game to the next level.
McGrath's the one, clear as day he's the next Captain; works his ass off both ways, professional on and off field, high football IQ, and showing the ability to lift when the team needs him.

Doesn't need to be a brute of a bloke to crack in hard; Selwood's only an inch taller than McGrath but one of the best leaders of the last two decades. I think McGrath will end up built like Jack Viney & Lachie Neale; not tall but reasonably nuggety and strong through the lower body.

If Hooker was going to be Captain it should have been a couple of years ago, he's the wrong choice at this stage of his career. Heppell is OK for the interim if he's fit, Saad gives everything each week, Merrett (if he runs both ways) could be a prospect for a couple of years, Smith another potential.

Someone like Smith who's clearly competitive and passionate with a bit of campaigner about him could benefit from it, might iron out his tendencies to be undisciplined. A bit like Sicily really, he's considered a good future Captain and likely the responsibility will tidy up his brain fades.
 

eth-dog

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There’s leadership and there’s leadership. Football these days is extremely structural and out on the field, there’s a hell of a lot more to do than cracking in hard, playing well and giving advice to young players.

Different blokes shouting instructions is a recipe for disaster.

I don’t know what you do for a job, but if it’s at a biggish organisation, go find somebody who’s responsible for 40+ people and ask him/her what it’d be like to have no direct reports or chain of command. Just everybody doing their thing and those who want to lead can lead. No thanks.
What exactly are assistant coaches for? Do you honestly think that Saad and Hurley wouldn't be on the same page 99% of the time when it comes to defensive structures and who goes where?

I mean come on. Defensive structures and where to go, who to follow have been drilled into them from day 1 of pre-season of their time at the club.
 

Swerving Irv

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Dec 2, 2019
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What exactly are assistant coaches for? Do you honestly think that Saad and Hurley wouldn't be on the same page 99% of the time when it comes to defensive structures and who goes where?

I mean come on. Defensive structures and where to go, who to follow have been drilled into them from day 1 of pre-season of their time at the club.
fu** me, Hurls must've been stuck in a torture chamber all night with Woosha blaring at him non-stop "To the left back flank! To the left back flank! To the left back flank!"
 

Bunk Moreland

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What exactly are assistant coaches for? Do you honestly think that Saad and Hurley wouldn't be on the same page 99% of the time when it comes to defensive structures and who goes where?

I mean come on. Defensive structures and where to go, who to follow have been drilled into them from day 1 of pre-season of their time at the club.
Ok forget it, let’s have no leaders.
 

owen87

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 23, 2016
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Yep, coudn't have said it better myself.
So if it's drilled in to them, then the coaches must know who the leaders are right? Which means they're somehow known, perhaps nominated, perhaps there's even a group of them.
 

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