Kate Hore will captain Melbourne's AFLW side for the upcoming season.

The torch has been passed by Daisy Pearce, and the Demons have ushered in a new era with the announcement of AFLW Captain Kate Hore. She will be supported by Vice-Captain Tyla Hanks, and Senior Leaders Rhiannon Watt and Libby Birch. 

Mick Stinear, Senior Coach, spoke positively of the way that the playing group chose their leadership team. 

“The recommendations came through and it was clear as a group that you wanted Kate, Tyla, and Libby to come back – I have to say thanks for the work of Hanksy, Libby and Kate throughout last season and behind the scenes for setting us up for this season,” said Stinear. 

“There was overwhelming support to have Rhi Watt join the [leadership] team…based on your recognition and feedback. We can all see the size of Rhi’s heart, how much love she’s got for the team, and the sheer joy she gets out of seeing you guys succeed.” 


Kate Hore originally signed with Melbourne as a rookie ahead of the 2018 season from St Kilda Sharks, but came into her stride in the 2020 season.  

The flashy forward was first named in the All-Australian squad in 2020, following her stellar season with a goal of the year and becoming Melbourne’s leading goalkicker. 

At the culmination of the 2020 season, Hore finished third in Melbourne’s Best and Fairest, recognising her remarkable performance. 

In 2022, Hore was named Vice-Captain in acknowledgement of her leadership of the team. This marked the beginning of her most successful season to date. 

Hore was named once again to the All-Australian Squad in 2022, won Melbourne’s Best and Fairest, and finished 2022 as a Premiership player. 

Daisy Pearce, previous Melbourne AFLW Captain, was present for the announcement on Thursday night, and had only praise for her successor. 

“It’s been so great to watch Kate evolve…when I watched Kate accept her Best and Fairest award last year, I could see the look in her eye when she said that she wanted to win more and I knew that it was time to retire and get out of her way because she was ready.” 


Daisy also announced Tyla Hanks as the new Vice-Captain, an amazing achievement for the 23-year-old. 

Hanks was drafted to Melbourne as pick number six in 2019 from Gippsland Power, and has quickly become one of the most dangerous players in the competition. 

The midfielder won the AFLW Rising Star Award in 2021, and was also the recipient of Melbourne’s Best and Fairest award in 2021. 

Daisy Pearce spoke highly of the young athlete’s maturity and leadership. 

“She’s so mature and selfless for her age…it’s pretty incredible for a 23-year-old who comes into the club with all the talent in the world…but who can see what the team needs. 

“Your leadership has always been there, and this is just an opportunity to keep growing and learning.” 

Rhiannon Watt and Libby Birch complete the senior leadership team, bringing their skills as two of the most experienced players in the league. 

Rhiannon Watt was drafted as pick number 40 by Carlton in the 2018 AFLW draft, but then signed with St Kilda in the expansion period in April 2019. She was named co-Captain of St Kilda in 2020 but after a major ACL injury was delisted. 

Watt was picked up by Melbourne in the middle of 2022 for season 7, however, her ACL injury left her unable to compete. She will play with the Demons for the first time in 2023. 

Watt has played 24 games of footy, but also represented Australia in volleyball and brings significant leadership experience both inside and outside of sport. 

Libby Birch is a gifted athlete, having reached high levels of netball before switching to footy in 2016. She was recruited by the Western Bulldogs as a rookie after having only played football for three months for Darebin Falcons. 

It was Daisy Pearce who invited Birch to trial for the inaugural AFLW season, and Birch joined Melbourne during the 2019 sign and trade period. She quickly made an impact, winning the Melbourne Football Club Trademark award in 2020. 

She is a two-time AFLW Premiership player, in 2018 with the Bulldogs and 2022 with Demons. 

Birch has also been twice selected for the All-Australian team, in 2020 and 2022. She was chosen an astonishing four times for the AFLPA 22Under22 Team, and is the first Victorian AFLW player to reach 50 games. 

The quartet of leaders mark a changing of the guard for Melbourne and represent a new era. Mick Stinear commended the group and was specific about his vision for how they might enact their roles best. 

“Their job is to best represent the group and have conversations around our broader club and program to keep taking things forward, continuing to improve, and make sure that the next generation that comes after us is part of a really successful culture,” he said.