IT MAY be Daisy Pearce’s fifth season as Melbourne’s AFLW captain, but the star leader says the honour of the role is more profound than ever before.
“The pride that I have for this team has only grown over the past six seasons,” Pearce told Melbourne Media.
“It’s even more of an honour that I have such big bonds with these guys, so I’m looking forward to leading them.”
The dream team back at it. ✨— Melbourne AFLW (@MelbourneAFLW) November 15, 2021
Daisy Pearce will again captain the Demons in 2022, alongside Karen Paxman as vice-captain + seven talented, future leaders. 👏
📝: https://t.co/PZv8CdKtAx pic.twitter.com/n76RPfNTXE
Since first taking on the role of captain back in 2017, Pearce has developed into one of the league’s top leaders, both on and off the field, going on to captain the side in 2018, 2020 and 2021.
As she now prepares for season 2022, Pearce reflected on her unfortunate end to last year, missing out on the Demons’ 2021 finals campaign with a knee injury, and how that time has helped further develop her leadership skills.
“It makes you realise how much you love this group and how much you want to see this team succeed,” Pearce said.
“Having to sit on the sidelines for a while only fuels that further and increases your ability to step out of your own role.
“[It makes you] think about what other people are doing, so it’s helped me get better at that.”
Karen Paxman was also named as Melbourne’s vice-captain, supporting Pearce at the helm for a second year in a row.
“Paxy is an amazing leader,” Pearce said.
“She’s probably someone who didn’t grow up loving the tactics of footy and wasn’t a footy head but she’s gone to work on improving that so she can help others around her to get better.
“With training now, we’re often separated into our areas so as captain you can’t reach everyone, so I rely on her a lot to get to the mids and build good relationships with them.”
The extended leadership group was also announced with experienced ruck Lauren Pearce an exciting addition.
Pearce will join Tyla Hanks, Libby Birch, Maddi Gay, Sarah Lampard, Lily Mithen and Kate Hore within the line-up.
“The leadership group we’ve got has been awesome, but Loz will be a good addition,” Pearce said.
“She sees the game a little bit different to some of us and sees things that I don’t see, so she’ll be good from that perspective.
“She’s had some challenges with injury over the years and her training weeks don’t always look like the rest of the group’s might, but her ability to step up when it counts most on game day is second to none, so I think that as a leader is really good.”
As the side continues their pre-season program, Pearce said she is most excited to simply get the season started and demonstrate the hard work the Demons have put into their game.
“We finished on a disappointing note last year having made some genuine improvements as a team across the season, but then it was pretty bitter end.” Pearce said.
“[I’m excited] to just to get out there and get to work and hopefully see all our hard work come to fruition across the season.”