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FEATURE ARTICLE

Crows stick with Roo, but who’s next?

Anne Fedorowytsch
Tuesday January 9, 2007

The Adelaide Crows have spoken, selecting their captain for 2007, while Mark Ricciuto got the nod again Anne Fedorowytsch ponders on who will be his successor.

Crows re-appoint Mark Ricciuto as Captain
Crows re-appoint Mark Ricciuto as Captain.

As the 2007 AFL season drawers nearer and nearer each day, teams are getting down to the nitty gritty of their pre-season training. For the Adelaide Football Club, who resumed training on the 4th after their Christmas break, it was time to finalise the leadership group.

The 44 players cast their vote and the leadership group for 2007 is: Mark Ricciuto (Captain), Simon Goodwin, Tyson Edwards, Nathan Basset and Brett Burton.

Missing from the 2006 group are Andrew McLeod, Ben Rutten, Jason Torney and Ben Hart.

This year is expected to be Ricciuto’s last as Captain, as he intends on guiding the next captain through for a season.

So who will be his successor? It’s worth noting that only once have the Crows opted for a short term replacement. Tony McGuinness replaced the Club’s inaugural captain, Chris McDermott, for two years before a long-term replacement came along in Mark Bickley.

Could this leave Simon Goodwin out of the equation? It is thought that the next long term captain will come from the current age group of 20-24 year olds.

At 30 years of age, Goodwin would be 31 if he took over the captaincy at the end of 2006. He could lead the Club for two years, hopefully enough time for a younger team mate to develop further and then carry the Captaincy for a longer period of time.

Nathan Bock could be in contention. After missing most of the 2006 season, Bock impressed in the final few games for the Club. He lead from the front and never gave up.

The Preliminary final against West Coast is a game to be forgotten among the Crows faithful, but they should never forget Bock’s determination. Not once in the dieing minutes did he lose focus.

He powered home two wonderful goals from each pocket of the northern end of AAMI Stadium, to put the Crows within four points of West Coast in the final minute. A win as not to be, but Bock’s courage and will to never give up was something to be admired.

A man who provides plenty of dash from the back line, Marty Mattner, could also find himself under consideration. Mattner has plenty of determination in him. He worked hard to be elevated off the rookie list in 2002 and has continued to work hard to improve his game.

Often rewarded by the umpires with Brownlow votes, Mattner is a real workhorse and is renown for his fierce tackling and dashing run. He could prove to be a strong leader in the future.

A 2004 Rising Star Nominee, Brent Reilly’s name has often come up in discussion about a future captain. The young lad from Victoria is settled in Adelaide and cemented a spot in the Club’s best 22 in 2006.

Reilly, often used off the bench in midfield rotations, has showed glimpses of what the Crows hope he will turn into in the coming years. He is committed to the game and concedes 2007 is the year for him to show football fans what he is really made of. He seems a popular choice as a future captain.

Ben Rutten is a stand out among the contenders. He was part of the 2006 leadership group and even captained a NAB Cup game with less than 50 AFL games und his belt.

After his first full season in 2005, Rutten was named the All Australian full back, certainly a great achievement after his first full season at the Club. He also came 3rd in the Club Champion award.

Like Mattner, Rutten is a product of the 2002 rookie list. He has shown on field leadership and without a doubt always gives his best. He seems most likely to shoulder the Captain duties at sometime in the future.

Traded to Adelaide from Melbourne at the end of 2004, Scott Thompson is also a possible candidate for the Club’s next captain.

After a stellar 2005, Thompson’s 2006 season wasn’t quiet as impressive. He struggled to find consistency, but when he did he was a brilliant player.

Thompson is a hard nut, he is not afraid to put his body on the line and you’ll often find him in and under packs. His tough tackling is also a great attribute to his game. He has shown on field leadership capabilities, but sometimes he can loose his cool on ground, something he’ll have to work on if he wants to succeed Mark Ricciuto.

At 20 years of age, Nathan van Berlo cemented his spot in the Crows line up in 2006. Unfortunately, against Brisbane in Round 11, he broke his collarbone in a collision but the young lad from West Perth pulled himself up and managed to get a handball away to an oncoming teammate despite the pain he was feeling.

Like Thompson, you will often find him in and under packs and he certainly doesn’t lack courage. His silky smooth skills and impressive endurance levels saw him an immediate inclusion when he was 100% fit again. Having no troubles finding the ball, van Berlo looks set to be in the Club’s leadership equations in the future.

A surprise contender for the next top job, Jason Porplyzia could be in with a chance. After being dropped from the Crows’ rookie list in 2003, Porplyzia was determined to make it back into the AFL system. The Crows again, in the 2005 pre-season draft, picked him up.

Porplyzia managed 11 games in his debut season and was named the AFC’s Emerging Talent at the end of 2006.

His ability to take marks under pressure is outstanding, and he rarely misses goals. He is a tough guy and with further developing he could be part of the leadership plans for the future.

Not until the end of he 2007 season will the fog over the Club’s next captain lift a bit. This group of youngsters know now is the time to showcase their leadership qualities, with the hope that they could well and be the next Mark Ricciuto.

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