The Gold Coast Suns have named a new captain less than a month before the start of the 2022 season.
The news comes as David Swallow officially stood down from the position this morning after serving in the role for the past three seasons, with 2021 All-Australian and reigning club champion Touk Miller as his replacement.
Miller has been a part of the Suns' leadership group since 2017 and finally gets the opportunity to lead the club into the future alongside fellow co-captain Jarrod Witts.
“It’s extremely humbling and obviously I’m super grateful. I have a lot of love for this club and want to serve it as best I can,” Miller said.
“I'm thrilled that the playing group and the club have put the trust in me to lead us alongside Jarrod and I’m really looking forward to what's ahead.
“We've got some young leaders that are starting to emerge in both their football and off the field, which will put us in good stead for an exciting future.”
Witts will provide Miller with a strong foundation in which to grow into a stronger leader given that 2022 will mark the ruckman's fourth season in the role. He will also look to put together a strong year after missing the majority of last season with a ruptured ACL.
The Suns should be in good stead as the two men in charge of leading the pack both exemplify high-level professionalism and play.
“It's a great honour, one that I've never taken for granted and I really cherish each moment I get to lead. We've got a great group of young players and I look forward to seeing the progress we can make as a team this year,” Witts said.
“To be announced alongside Touk, someone who has done all the work, deserves the opportunity and is ready to grab it with both hands, is a great thrill.”
Rounding out the remainder of the Gold Coast leadership group is key-defender Sam Collins, who retains his role as vice-captain, the aforementioned Swallow in addition to several newcomers; defender Sean Lemmens, forward Nick Holman and third-year midfielder Noah Anderson.
“We've got real layers with our leadership now, it gives us better coverage across the whole playing group,” Witts said.
“Noah is a really impressive young man and I'm sure he's going to have a strong impact for us this year and the same with Nick and Sean, they're going to really compliment the group and help drive us forward.”
Wayne Campbell, the General Manager of Football Performance at the Suns, weighed in on this morning's events and heaped praise onto the new-look leadership group.
“It’s a testament to Dave and his selfless, team-first attitude. He stepped up to lead this club during a tough period and now makes the decision to put the club first and pass the baton over to Touk, to lead the club into an exciting new phase in its journey,” Campbell said.
“It’s clear to see the leadership qualities that both Jarrod and Touk have, and we’re excited by the opportunity that presents them to lead our club into the next phase of our development.
“The players and football department staff voted on who should be in the leadership group and we believe this group can continue to build on our connection as team and ensure we are more ruthless in every aspect of what we do.”
Gold Coast is looking to push for their first finals appearance since entering the league in 2011, but will need to figure out alternate routes to goal to do so in the wake of Ben King's season-ending injury.
The Suns will begin their 2022 season against West Coast at Optus Stadium on Sunday, March 20.