In a 22-year first, the West Coast Eagles have appointed joint captains for the 2024 season, with Oscar Allen and Liam Duggan to lead the club.
It’s just the second time in the Eagles’ 37-year history that they will have co-captains, with the last pair being Ben Cousins and Dean Kemp in 2001.
Eagles coach Adam Simpson said the decision was made after the club was unable to split Allen and Duggan during the selection process.
“These guys have been even. This is the future of the club. The leadership here with these guys is outstanding. They complement each other,” he said in a press conference on Wednesday.
He further explained that the decision to appoint the pair wasn’t a quick one, with the Eagles board ratifying the selection during the week.
“The leaders have come back with lots of energy. They’ve gone through a lot, the resilience has been built up. We’ve got a lot of work to do and it won’t all be smooth sailing. But this process has been going on for a while now,” Simpson said.
“This process has been pretty standard, the players vote and the staff. The chairman and the board ticked it off.”
Duggan, who has played 158 games across half back and the midfield, spoke of his excitement to lead the club with someone he is so close to.
“It’s great to be doing this with such a good mate. Although there has been one captain previously, it’s always been a team effort with the senior leaders,” he said.
As for becoming just the second pair to co-captain West Coast, Duggan admits there is a lot he and Allen need to learn.
“The whole aspect of two captains is new. We’ve got a young group and they’re providing a lot of energy. Everyone is excited about the direction we’re heading,” he said.
Allen, who booted a massive 53 goals and came second in the club’s best and fairest in 2023, broke down what to expect from the pair once he and Duggan step into the captaincy.
“We play different roles on the field, but we both like to lead by actions,” he said.
“We’re building as a club and I want to be a part of that. Finding the balance between performing and empathy is important. Your first job is to play, but you need to balance what the group needs, to support them.”
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Tom Barass will remain as vice-captain of the club in 2024, with Jeremy McGovern taking a step back from his formal leadership position.
Allen and Duggan become just the 13th and 14th captains in West Coast’s history, most importantly noting that they will be taking turns to toss the coin.
“We will share the coin toss and chatting to the boys before the game. But we will stay who we are and keep being the same people we have been,” Duggan said.