She’s been an unofficial leader of the side since the early days but now Stevie-Lee Thompson is officially taking on the role.
Thompson has been elevated to the Crows’ AFLW leadership group and will be under the guidance of captain Chelsea Randall, who has been re-appointed.
Previously co-captaining with veteran two-time Best and Fairest winner Erin Phillips, who stepped down at the end of 2020, Randall takes the reins as Adelaide’s sole skipper for a second consecutive season.
The 2022 leadership group also includes experienced defender Sarah Allan and forward Eloise Jones.
Thompson, 29, has been known as one of the ‘mums’ of the side after taking young forward and fellow Darwin product Danielle Ponter under her wing during her first campaign.
That friendship has gone from strength to strength and Ponter, who still resides in Darwin, lives with Thompson and her partner Karlee during the AFLW season.
Speaking to AFC Media, Thompson said it was an honour to officially be recognised as a leader.
“It means a lot that my peers actually see me as someone who can help and support them throughout the season this year and in the long term as well,” Thompson said.
“I try to support Danielle as much as possible and everyone knows us as a mother-daughter duo.
“When she first started in 2019… being a girl from Darwin who hadn’t really stepped out of Darwin, I really wanted to be there for her.
“I know the feeling of moving away from family and not having that protection when you’re in a different environment so I thought I had to take her under my wing.
“I’m glad I have because that’s not just from me but from everyone at the Club who’s helped support her.”
Thompson was born in Brisbane to New Zealand parents before moving to Darwin with her family.
She played rugby league until about six years ago, when she decided to give Aussie rules a go.
Thompson relocated to South Australia during the second AFLW season and has lived in Adelaide ever since.
“My coach actually said to me ‘You should give AFL a crack’,” Thompson said.
“So I thought, ‘Okay’, and that’s sort of the pathway I went down.
“I had to decide whether I wanted to play rugby league with my mates or AFL.
“Having Andrew Hodges as the NT Thunder coach at the time, he gave me a good chat and said, ‘You can make a life out of AFL’, and I am really glad I did.”
She said her approach to training, game day and supporting her teammates would not change with her introduction into the leadership group.
The utility was keen to continue working alongside Randall and building on the strong bonds the group has forged.
“Nothing changes for me, it’s just putting a title on my position, but I’m still the same person and I’ll still do what I can to get our team to win,” Thompson said.
“Every person wants to be friends with Chelsea and she means a lot to me and for her to lead this team again is amazing.
“This Club is family to me and seeing our Crows supporters and members there cheering us on, it brings a warm feeling to the heart.”