NORM Smith medallist Luke Shuey is the early favourite to become West Coast’s next AFL skipper after Shannon Hurn stepped down from the role after five years in charge.
Hurn has been at the top of his game over the past two seasons, being named All- Australian vice-captain in each of those campaigns.
But the 32-year-old feels the time is right for a new leader to step forward, with the players and key football staff to work together to nominate a new captain.
Vice-captain Shuey is the early frontrunner,
Fellow vice-captain Josh Kennedy, 32, is at the tail-end of his career and unlikely to be given the captaincy reins.
Other members of the leadership group from last year who could vie for the role include Nic Naitanui, Andrew Gaff, and Jeremy McGovern.
But it is Shuey who looms as the most logical fit.
The 29-year-old has been touted as a future captain since early in his career, with his leadership well respected within the club.
Hurn could have become the club’s longest-serving captain had he continued in the role this year.
He currently sits third on the list with 123 games as skipper, behind only John Worsfold (138) and Darren Glass (129).
Hurn felt it was the right time to pass on the baton.
“Instinct is an important part of the game and my gut tells me this is the right time for the next generation of players to lead the way,” Hurn said.
“This is a decision that is based around what is best for the club over the next four or five years, not just the 2020 season.
“I will still lead in the same way that I always have, I am committed to helping my teammates be better players and to build towards our next premiership. That doesn’t change.
“While I have really enjoyed being captain, I feel at this stage in my career I can’t commit the time and pay the respect that the role needs and requires.”
When Hurn first became captain ahead of the 2015 season, he proclaimed he wanted to become a premiership skipper.
He achieved that goal in 2018 when he led West Coast to a thrilling five-point grand final win over Collingwood.
His no-frills style has won him widespread plaudits, and he looms as a key cog in West Coast’s defence in 2020.
© AAP 2019