AFLW pioneer Daisy Pearce will again lead the Demons, having been appointed captain for the upcoming 2022 season.
It will be the third consecutive year, and fifth time overall, that the star player has been at the helm, having captained Melbourne’s side every season, bar 2019.
Pearce, who was forced to miss the Demons’ 2021 finals campaign with a knee injury, is considered one of the competition’s premier leaders, continuing to find ways to improve herself while developing others.
The 33-year-old will be supported by another powerhouse in Karen Paxman, who carries on her role as vice-captain.
Paxman’s sustained impact at the top level saw her named in the 2021 AFLW All Australian side – she’s one of only two players to receive this honour in every year of the AFLW competition – and a dual winner of Melbourne’s Best and Fairest Award.
The all-star duo, who have a wealth of experience and knowledge behind them, were formally recognised by their peers, with senior coach Mick Stinear saying they remain the two best women to lead the side.
“As a club, we are very fortunate to have such talented players, and great people and leaders, in Daisy and Paxy,” he told Melbourne Media.
“We are excited to have Daisy and Paxy again lead our team into battle this season. They both have a great understanding of their roles, as well as themselves as people and they continue to inspire and challenge others to pursue excellence and reach our potential as a team.
Pearce and Paxman will again be joined by some future leaders, with the club re-appointing its extended leadership group.
Tyla Hanks, Libby Birch, Maddi Gay, Sarah Lampard, Lily Mithen and Kate Hore will all continue in their development roles, while the club has also recognised Lauren Pearce, welcoming the talented ruck to the group.
Pearce, who has been with the club since the inception of the competition, has not only developed herself in recent years, but shown a strong investment in others.
She finished third in the club’s Best and Fairest Award last season, and with a great understanding of her role, and that of each of her teammates, will now contribute more formally as a leader.
Having taken significant steps forward last season, where Melbourne made a Preliminary Final, Stinear is confident this year’s leadership group will continue to push for excellence.
“Within the leadership group, there are a variety of leadership styles, positional roles and personalities and a healthy competitive edge that challenges and inspires those around them,” he said.
“We are proud to have such a committed group of women leading our team and are genuinely excited for what our future holds with these quality people leading the way.”
The 2022 season is set to commence in the first week of January, for what will be the sixth year of the competition.