Lions Captain Emma Zielke said her Coach Craig Starcevich would have been disappointed in her if she hadn’t of elected for captaincy in 2020.
Zielke was named Captain of the Lions AFLW side just before Christmas, after previously leading the team to two AFLW Grand Finals in 2017 and 2018. She was appointed the role of Vice-Captain in 2019.
“I’m pretty honoured to again be leading the group and it gives you a bit of confidence,” Zielke told lions.com.au.
“I’ve always said to Craig I would love to be in a leadership position, whether it was just in the leadership group or having a title, I really don’t mind.
“I think he would have probably been disappointed if I didn’t nominate myself.”
Starcevich and Zielke have known each other well before AFLW, when he was Academy Coach of Queensland and she was his player.
His belief was instilled in Zielke then and a special, honest relationship was formed.
“I’ve been with Craig for a very long time now,” she said.
“He’s one of my mentors and he’s really invested in the group.
“He gives me pointers on my leadership on and off the field and he definitely wants me to improve in some areas. I’m going to take on all the advice he’s going to give me.”
The 31-year-old, a Foundation Eight player of the Lions in her fourth season, said the team has gained players who excel in areas that they previously lacked.
“Craig and Bree and the coaching staff have recruited some speed and huge amounts of athleticism,” she said.
But what’s had Zielke most excited this pre-season is the improvement she has witnessed in the second, third and fourth year players whose professionalism and dedication improves year on year.
“They’re the ones that are going to drive this group to success,” Zielke said.
The Lions AFLW team’s 2020 campaign starts on Saturday 8 February at Hickey Park, 4:10pm against Adelaide Crows.