For the fourth consecutive year Adelaide’s AFLW team will have co-captains, with Chelsea Randall and Erin Phillips once again appointed to lead the side in 2020.

The decision was made by AFLW Senior Coach Matthew Clarke in consultation with the coaching group and team leaders and was ratified by the Adelaide Football Club Board.

It will be a different style of leadership for the pair in 2020, with Randall missing the season after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during the side’s first pre-season training.

The timing of Phillips’ return to the field is yet to be confirmed while she continues her rehabilitation from the ACL injury she sustained in the 2019 AFLW Grand Final.

Clarke said while the co-captains would provide terrific support off the field, their absence out on the ground created an opportunity for others to step up.

“The decision that the group would be best served by retaining the co-captains was made on exposed form, three years of outstanding leadership and the fact that Chelsea and Erin are the natural leaders of this group,” Clarke said.

“Across the course of the pre-season and previous seasons, a number of players have already demonstrated great leadership capacity, our more experienced players and our younger emerging leaders.

“Whomever fills those roles, we have great confidence that they will lead the team really effectively, as will Erin when she returns in an on-field capacity.”

Randall said she was honoured to lead the team she described as a group of “inspiring women”.

“It was overwhelming the belief that they have in me and I’m super proud to lead alongside Flip (Phillips) again,” Randall said.

“I will be able to provide some vital off-field leadership and more importantly be able to provide some guidance to our on-field leaders as well throughout the season.

“It’s an awesome opportunity for our emerging leaders and it’s exciting for them to be able to take on more responsibility on-field.”

STRONG LEADERS: Culture strong enough to fill the void

Phillips said she was excited to share the role with Randall again.

“I’m honoured to do it again with Chelsea, we compliment each other really well and we’ve been able to lead this team to do some pretty special things in the past three seasons,” Phillips said.

“I’m excited to see the involvement of the leadership group that will soon be selected and work with them. 

“Not having Chelsea on the field there will be a void, but it’s also an opportunity for someone else to step up and take on that on-field responsibility alongside me.”

Prior to Adelaide’s Round One match against Brisbane on February 8, the players will elect a leadership group who will provide support to Randall and Phillips.