Emma Kearney will lead the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos for a third season in 2021, with a unanimous vote for captaincy among her peers.
All-Australian midfielder, Ash Riddell, is the newest addition to the leadership group, joining Emma King and Jasmine Garner.
“It’s always nice to know that you’re well supported by your peers and that you’re leading the team in the right direction,” Kearney told North Media.
“I take a lot of feedback from the playing group and the staff and I’m always looking to improve my leadership. I feel like I’ve been able to do that going into our third season at the club.
“It’s quite a privilege to lead a club with a rich history like North Melbourne’s, so I’m looking forward to the season ahead.”
Kearney said she’s learnt about herself in the role and values the relationships she’s formed.
“Sometimes when you’re in a leadership position for the first time you try and emulate what other people have done before you,” she said.
“For me, it’s more about being myself and the main thing for me is establishing some really close relationships with the entire playing group. That allows me to have a better understanding of them as people not just as footballers, and they have a better understanding of how I operate as well.”
Kearney praised new inductee Riddell, pointing to her outstanding work ethic.
“Ash has been super impressive since she’s been at the club, she’s an incredibly hard worker on the track and a bubbly personality,” Kearney said.
“It’s not just her football ability that has got her into this position, it’s her ability to work and get everything out of her football, which has been really impressive.”
Riddell said she was excited for the opportunity.
“I really value the fact my peers voted me in [the Leadership Group], it’s really humbling, it’s as humbling as it is exciting,” she said.
“I’m really excited for the opportunity to learn from Kearney, ‘Kingy’ and Jasmine who have been in it a couple of years prior, so it’s an exciting time ahead.
“I think I’m a lead-by-example type of person and hopefully my actions speak louder than words and people can sort of follow me in that way.”
Riddell said a serious injury in her first season of AFLW had taught her the value of each and every moment.
“Having a rough start taught me not to take anything for granted,” she added.
“I’m so appreciative of every quarter I get to play and every training I get to participate in and I think that’s held me in really good stead going forward.
“The whole group is as driven as we could possibly be and we’re motivated to do as well as we can, and go deep into the finals series.”