Heading into her sixth season as skipper, Randall is primed to lead Adelaide to their third premiership in 2022. A marquee signing ahead of the competition's inaugural season in 2017, Randall has gone on to become a leading figure in the league, playing 32 games across five seasons. After sitting out 2020 due to an ACL injury suffered in pre-season training, the 30-year-old took up a role as an assistant coach during the Covid disrupted season. Now acting as sole captain after Erin Phillips stood down in 2021, Randall is one of the most experienced in the league ready to lead her team as they look to bounce back from their grand final defeat in 2021.
There's a new face leading the Lions in 2022 after former captain Emma Zielke retired following Brisbane's premiership win last April. Koenen, who becomes the club's first Indigenous leader, has played 39 games at Brisbane after being part of the inaugural squad back in 2017. Drafted with pick 50 after playing junior footy in North Queensland, Koenen has gone on to be an influential and valuable member of the Brisbane squad, rewarded with a new two-year deal following the Lions' premiership win in 2021. The former vice captain has plenty of experience in a leadership role both on and off the field which will be essential for the Lions as they aim for back-to-back premierships.
A four and half hour journey to play footy - Magnetic Island to Cairns was a standard commute for Bre Koenen growing up. 🤯
Lauren Arnell sits down with Breanna Koenen to talk life outside of football.
— Brisbane Lions AFLW (@lionsaflw) February 4, 2020
The childhood Blues fan has been given the role as sole captain heading into the 2022 season, following the departure of Katie Loynes. The two-time All Australian defender had a stellar season in 2021, finishing third in Carlton's best and fairest, after making a successful transition to football in 2018. The 29-year-old is a former WNBL player for the Bendigo Spirit, since signing with Carlton as a rookie for the 2018 season, Harrington has gone from strength to strength. In her 32 games with the Blues, the former basketballer has proven herself as a valued teammate and leader and her experience across two sports will be invaluable to a Blues team comprising of a few new faces.
Leading the side for a second season alongside co-captain Steph Chiocci, Davey would be hoping to back up her stellar 2021 campaign as the Pies look to head deeper into finals in 2022. Davey, who has played for the Matildas and A-Leagues sides Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory, made the move to Collingwood in 2020 after entering the competition as a marquee recruit for the Blues ahead of the inaugural season. While 2021 was a strong season for the Pies, Davey's own list of individual accolades grew, including an AFLPA MVP award and both a Collingwood and AFLW best and fairest award. Alongside Chiocci in 2021, the Pies ended the year in third, with a 4-point preliminary final defeat providing fuel for a better run in 2022.
Chiocci shared the captaincy with Davey in 2021 but has lead the Pies since their inaugural season in 2017, making the 33-year-old the equal longest serving captain in the league. The influential midfielder has played 37 games with Collingwood since being drafted with pick 11 in the 2016 draft and has been a key pillar of the team since then. With Chiocci heading into her sixth year as captain, Collingwood have some of the most experienced leaders in the league at the forefront of their premiership run.
First year captain Miller has taken the reins from Kara Antonio who led the club since inauguration in 2017. Miller, who holds the record for equal-most games played for Fremantle with 38, was in impressive from throughout 2021, finishing fifth in Fremantle's best and fairest award. A Western Australian native, Miller was drafted with pick four in the 2016 draft and played every game in her debut year. Six years on, the 25-year-old has grown into an elite midfielder and club leader.
— Fremantle Dockers (@freodockers) December 3, 2021
McDonald has gone from strength to strength since arriving at Geelong in the club's debut season in 2019. Playing the first year of her career at the Western Bulldogs before being delisted, McDonald excelled once heading to the Cattery, picking up an All Australian nod in her first season. McDonald was given the captaincy for the 2021 season and relished in the role, having her best season to date with another All Australian selection and a second place finish in the club's best and fairest. An elite intercept defender, McDonald will be hoping to help rebound her team up the ladder after a disappointing 13th place finish in 2021.
After sharing the responsibility in 2021, Dunn has officially become sole captain of the Suns following the retirement of Sam Virgo. Debuting for Gold Coast in 2020 after playing just one game for the Giants during her time at the club in 2017, Dunn has proved her worth as a leader on and off the field, quickly finding herself in the role of co-captain in her second year at the club. Heading into season three and with 15 games with the club under her belt, the 30-year-old will have to use her talents as both a footballer and leader to help prevent a back-to-back wooden spoon.
Greater Western Sydney
A former vice-captain at Collingwood, Eva has made her mark on the leadership group at the Giants since arriving in 2018. Having played 35 games across her five seasons in the competition, Eva heads into season six as the Giants' captain for the third season in a row. An elite midfielder, Eva made the All Australian squad in 2018 and won the Giants best and fairest award in the same year. A valued leader at the club, the 30-year-old also works as a coach in the Giants' academy and VFL programs, stemming from time spent as a coach in her junior footy days.
One of the most recognisable figures in the game, Pearce returns as Demons skipper for a fifth season. With a list of accomplishments that grows each season, Pearce is often seen as the face of not just Melbourne, but the league in general. With an elite on field presence, earning her two All Australian selections, and an off-field role both around the club and in the media, Pearce is one of the most well known leaders in the game. Additionally, the 33-year-old is widely praised by those within the league, earning the title of the AFLW players' best captain in 2017, 2018 and 2020.
One of the most decorated midfielders in the competition, Kearney leads the club for the fourth consecutive year. A former Bulldog, Kearney joined the Kangaroos in 2019 for their inaugural season, becoming the club's first captain. Sitting on 39 games, the 32-year-old offers invaluable experience as a captain at North, but also performs on the field as one of their best. Kearney, alongside Melbourne's Karen Paxman, is one of two players to earn five consecutive All Australian selections in the AFLW competition.
Inaugural captain Brennan leads the club once again heading into 2022. Brennan, who served as captain of the Bulldogs from 2017-2019, remains as one of the stars of the competition, picking up several accolades in 2021, including a maiden All Australian inclusion and leading the Richmond goalkicking tally. A proven leader at both the Bulldogs and Richmond, Brennan will be looking to build on her stellar 2021 form to lift her Tigers out of the bottom four in 2022.
Priest heads into 2022 as a solo captain after sharing the duties with Rhiannon Watt and Kate Shierlaw last season. Priest, a 2019 draftee, has played 15 games with the club since making her debut in 2020 and has relished in her role as a cool head in St Kilda's defence. Finishing inside the top ten at the club's best and fairest in 2021 after a stand out season, the sole captaincy heading into a challenging season for the Saints is just another thing for Priest to take in her stride.
West Australian Swanson will lead the Eagles once again in 2022, her third season as leader after getting the nod in West Coast's inaugural 2020 season. Swanson, a hard-working midfielder, has plenty of leadership experience, serving as a vice captain at the Giants where she played for three years. Approaching game number 30, the 26-year-old has already achieved plenty in her career including being named in the All Australian squad in her debut year.
The Western Bulldogs club record games holder will once again lead the club this season, her third as a solo captain following the departure of Katie Brennan. An elite midfielder and three-time All Australian, Blackburn has plenty of experience to share with her teammates, including her captaincy of the club's premiership win in 2018. Voted best captain by the AFLW players in 2021, there's no doubt Blackburn will continue her impressive form as a player and captain in 2022.