By Molly Magennis
Midfielder Ellie Blackburn will act as the Western Bulldogs AFLW captain in the 2022 season, which will mark her third consecutive year as leader of the group.
Blackburn led the team to the AFLW flag as acting captain in 2018, was co-captain in 2019 before returning to captain the team on her own in 2020.
She was voted the AFL Players’ Association best captain in 2021 and has been a part of the teams leadership group since the league began in 2017.
Blackburn said she loves being a Bulldogs person.
“I’m so passionate about this football club and have so much love and care being here,” she said.
“To be here for another year and be able to lead the team again is something I’m really proud of. I just love playing for the Western Bulldogs.
“It’s an amazing honour to lead our team and represent our colours.”
Blackburn will again be supported by Brooke Lochland as vice-captain, with Ashleigh Guest, Bailey Hunt, Isabel Huntington, Bonnie Toogood and Kirsty Lamb completing the player-voted leadership group.
“It’s obviously great to have a consistent leadership group – to have the same girls in there just shows that the calibre of work they are doing and constantly committing to their leadership, is (being seen) by the team, the coaches and staff here,” Blackburn said.
“A lot of comments around our team is that we’re ‘young and exciting’, so that naturally excites someone – knowing that you’ve got plenty of years with this group and that their talent is really raw and exciting.
General manager of women’s football Debbie Lee said that Blackburn is admired and respected by everyone at the club.
“There’s no doubt ‘Blackers’ is the right person to lead this team – she’s admired and respected by everyone, and is a true professional both on and off the field,” Lee said.
“She genuinely wants the best for her teammates, and will do whatever it takes to help them become the best versions of themselves.”
The 2022 AFLW season is set to begin in January.