Another round down in the AFL and, as seems to be happening every single week, the finals picture has changed dramatically.
Port Adelaide follow in the footsteps of the Adelaide Crows, naming both star midfielder Ollie Wines and key defender Tom Jonas as co-captains.
This staggering announcement exhibits a rise in dual captaincy for this year, creating a new tactic favoured especially among Adelaide teams.
But this decision has a few heads turning as they question the legitimacy of this idea. Will it bring further turmoil to already desperate teams, or will it create a positive and complementary role for these clubs?
Walker’s captaincy over the past four years has seen him be voted twice as the best AFL captain by his peers, but after injuries and suspensions last August, there were calls for him to relinquish the leadership role.
The Crows are also coming off of the back of a disappointing season, and this last-ditch effort to revitalise the team may create further disagreements, as important decisions may bring out conflicting views in Walker and Sloane.
The same could be said for Port Adelaide’s new skippers, with the Ollie Wines and Tom Jonas decision possibly bringing more tension to the group after the majority of members voted for the club to retain a sole captain at the annual general meeting earlier this month.
This really does raise the question of whether is a joint captaincy is more problem than it’s worth. Port have a longstanding history of the captain obtaining the No. 1 guernsey – will this now be eradicated? The Crows have had a sole captain for the past four years, but will bringing another leader into the mix cause the group to backpedal?
These questions will all be answered during the football year, with 2019 being the perfect moment to start measuring the success of the multiple captaincy model.
Sydney have also decided to opt for this tactic, naming Luke Parker, Dane Rampe and Josh Kennedy as shared captains. Also following this pathway is Greater Western Sydney, with Phil Davis and Callan Ward, and Gold Coast, who are expected to appoint three captains in the coming weeks.
These preliminary months will begin to show the structural cracks, with strong co-leaders having more of a fighting chance at keeping their teams afloat.
Clubs like Adelaide and Sydney lead the way in this regard, with their teams donning multiple strong leaders, creating a driving force for dual captaincies.
However, clubs like Port Adelaide may follow in Melbourne’s footsteps with a somewhat unsuccessful joint captaincy method trailed at the club in 2017.
Only time will tell what can be made of this new rise in multiple skippers, but it is already apparent teams with stronger leaders will mark the way for this trend, while other teams may diminish under the pressure.