Posted: 7 March, 2017 by Liam Flanagan

Will there be a power shift at your club in 2017?

Tags: AFL

At most of the AFL clubs there is or has been an established hierarchy for the past few seasons.

There is an established captain, a dominant player, or at least a very clear on field leader.

But does 2017 present a changing of the guard season at your club? We take a look to see which clubs could be experiencing a power shift in the coming season.

Adelaide: NO

All hail Tex! The Crows have got one of the best young skippers in the competition and long may he reign over the club and the city of Adelaide.

Brisbane: YES

The fact that Tom Rockliff is still at the club is a bonus, but he’s no longer the captain and after an off-season filled with speculation of a move away from Brisbane, he certainly won’t be the Lion King.

Enter Dayne Beams. The clubs best player (when fit) has been handed the captaincy and expect him to set the standards in training and on game day.

Carlton: NOT YET

Patrick Cripps will become the leader of this football club, but not yet. While his performances indicate that he is already a gun, it’s too early to burden him with the responsibility to lead the team, especially when Marc Murphy is a solid, without being spectacular, leader.

Collingwood: YES… let me explain

Scott Pendlebury is the captain and an absolute bona fide star of the AFL. But Adam Treloar showed last season that he is ready to tear the competition apart and will drag his young teammates kicking and screaming towards finals in 2017.

Pendles will continue to lead, but expect Treloar to be the man who inspires his fellow Pies.

Essendon: SORT OF

Dyson is captain, which means Jobe isn’t. But Jobe’s literal and figurative presence after 12 months out of the game will be huge and he’ll be a leader whether he means to be or not.

Fremantle: YES

No more Matthew Pavlich and David Mundy only managed the single season as skipper before the heir apparent Nate Fyfe took the wheel at the Dockers.


In a weird way there isn’t a leader at this club.

Because of the list profile and the youth of their co-captains Phil Davis and Callan Ward, the club has at least half dozen players who hold the power.

Heath Shaw, Davis, Ward, Shane Mumford, Steve Johnson and Jeremy Cameron are all the boss in their respective areas of the ground. And I don’t think coach Leon Cameron would want it any other way.

Geelong: NO… despite Danger’s best efforts

Any other captain in the competition might have wilted under the pressure and succumbed to the burden that Patrick Dangerfield’s mere presence brings. But not Joel Selwood. He is still the man at Geelong and that’s despite his storied teammate winning the game’s highest honour.



A team that has largely been under a Gary Ablett Jnr size leadership cloud since its inception is ready to break free and establish a new identity under co-captains Tom Lynch and Steven May.


With all the changes being rung at the Hawks you’d think the timing would be perfect for a young gun to step up and lead from the front. And Jaeger O’Meara could become that man in the coming years but for now, this is still Luke Hodge’s team even without the “C” next to his name.

Melbourne: NOT SURE

A lot of people would think that this would be a no brainer.

Jack Viney is the son of a club legend who’s physicality and effort make him a natural leader and he’s even been made co-captain for the season ahead.

But Nathan Jones is still the man who led the club through some difficult years and will co-captain alongside Viney.

And yet the man who could grab power, if he’s so inclined, is Jesse Hogan. He’s a young exciting key forward who plays with swagger and could make this his team if everything clicks.


Jack Ziebell has held the power whether he realised it or not for a season or two already at the Roos. Swallow was the skipper, Harvey was the veteran but Ziebell was the leader and now that he’s officially the captain, expect Ziebell to continue wield the power and demand his teammates not allow the slide down the ladder that many pundits predict for North Melbourne in 2017.

Port: NO, but eventually YES

Travis Boak is the leader by deed and Robbie Gray is the inspiration. And it will stay that way in 2017.

But Ollie Wines is building, like a rolling stone heading down hill, if he can put together an injury free season, watch the aura of the young gun grow to possibly club leading levels.

Richmond: WHO WANTS IT?

Brett Deledio probably had it, Dustin Martin doesn’t want it, Jack Riewoldt wants it but apparently can’t have it and Trent Cotchin has it but perhaps can’t hold onto it. 

The three best players at Tigerland are clear cut in 2017 but it’s still not clear whose team Richmond will be in the coming season.

St Kilda: YES, BUT NO

The great Nick Riewoldt has handed over the captaincy to the hardworking Jarryn Geary and there are a host of up and coming young guns at the Saints.

But if Rooey continues his form from 2016, he will continue to hold sway on and off the field in the red, white and black.

Sydney: NO

There’s a bloke by the name of Buddy Franklin who is still the unofficial leader of the red and white.

His sheer size and presence make him impossible to not follow into battle. And his current form suggests he’s loving his power at the Swans. 

Western Bulldogs: NO

If anyone holds the power at the reigning premiers, it’s coach Luke Beveridge. The playing group bought into his philosophy so whole-heartedly in 2016 that you’d do well to name a player who held equal sway over the playing group.

West Coast: YES… but not the one you’d think

At the other clubs where power shifts are occurring, it’s the passing of the torch from an elder statesman to a young up and coming star, but that’s not the case at the Eagles.

Shannon Hurn remains the captain but newly arrived Hawk star Sam Mitchell will take the reins of this footy club behind the scenes.

His experience, calmness under pressure and the fact that he’s come from the best system in modern footy means he’ll be fielding questions from teammates all year. 

Liam Flanagan


Liam dislikes Tupperware.

Tags: AFL

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