Breanna Koenen will lead the Brisbane Lions’ Premiership defense in 2022, with the defender today announced as the Brisbane Lions AFLW Captain.

The 26-year-old from Magnetic Island steps into the role with plenty of experience, having served as Vice-Captain in 2021 under the guidance of retired Premiership Captain, Emma Zielke. 


Speaking on the appointment, Koenen said that she’s looking forward to leading the Club’s into its sixth AFLW season.

“It’s such a huge honour to be voted in as Captain by my teammates,” Koenen said.

“Zilks [Emma Zielke] has created an amazing legacy in her time as Captain, and I’ve learnt a lot about what good leadership looks like from her.

“I’m really excited to step up and lead this team as we take on the 2022 season.”


The foundation Lion has built a reputation as one of the competition’s most miserly and hard-nosed lockdown defenders.

However, AFLW Head Coach Craig Starcevich says that it is her caring and selfless nature off-field that makes her the ideal candidate to take over from Zielke.

“Off the field, she’s always had great care for her teammates,” Starcevich said.

“But it’s her selflessness on the field and her understanding of playing her role for the sake of the team that has struck a chord with her teammates.

“Some of the roles she played last year against dangerous opposition has really resonated with her teammates, and it’s that combined with the great empathy she’s shown that has seen her land in this position.”

Koenen will head up an eight-person Leadership group alongside Vice Captain Emily Bates.

In addition to Koenen, Bates, Kate Lutkins and Shannon Campbell, the group will feature four new additions, including the Club’s first female Indigenous leadership group member in Ally Anderson.

Anderson, a proud Ghungalu women, is one of seven remaining Lions from the Club’s inaugural 2017 season.

“Ally being an original Lion in her sixth year, for the majority of the first five year she didn’t actually nominate for the Leadership group,” Starcevich said.

“She’s been doing a fantastic job with the cultural education within the group, and she’s put her hand up to take some leadership responsibility in the group.”

While Sophie Conway, Nat Grider and Cathy Svarc will also be new faces in the Lions leadership group, with Conway and Grider the first female Academy players to join the leadership group in the Club’s history.

“For Soph and Nat, having been Academy graduates and to come through into the Leadership group is not just a fantastic nod to the Academy, but is also a nod to the standard that their teammates recognise them to be at.

“And then for Cathy to go from an uncontracted train-on player three years ago, to be elevated to the Leadership group within two seasons is quite incredible and such a reflection of her character.”