NT Thunder is thrilled to announce it has appointed co-captains for its 2019 NEAFL season, with Alice-Springs based player Abraham Ankers joining the experienced Shannon Rioli at the helm of a five-man leadership group.
Rioli is in his fourth season as captain after being appointed the top job in 2016, and since the retirement of inaugural players in 2018 he has taken over the mantle of being the most capped NT Thunder player still in action with the 122 games to his name.
Ankers, who joined the club’s leadership group as its vice-captain last season and went on to win the Ilett Medal (Club Champion) has been recognised for his command of not only the club’s Central Australian contingent but the respect he’s earned from the wider playing group.
The only other time the club has appointed joint captains was in 2014 when Cameron Ilett and Aaron Motlop shared the honour.
Rounding out the NT Thunder leadership group for this year are joint vice-captains; Joe Anderson, Jack Hannath and Phillip Wills.
All five players were voted into their positions by their teammates at the weekend’s pre-season camp before their appointments were endorsed by NT Thunder management and the AFLNT Executive.
Anderson was a member of the leadership group in his first season playing for the club in 2018 and is a quietly spoken commander who lets his actions lead the way. He was a deserving winner of the NT Thunder Clubman of the Year last season, further cementing the positive impression he has on the team.
A big recruit for NT Thunder this year, Hannath moved to Darwin in January and wasted no time in implementing elite standards and offering his experience to the playing group. Speaking volumes to the respect he has earned in only a short time, Hannath was absent from the camp for a prearranged trip but still collected enough votes to warrant the call-up.
Wills, who had an outstanding NTFL season and is a vocal member of the side will play his sixth season for the club after showing great resilience through injury. He rejoins the leadership group for the first time since 2016, the same season he first captained the club in the Indigenous Round match against Redland.
NT Thunder Manager Andrew Hodges validated the playing group’s choice of leaders.
“It’s pleasing to have such a quality group of guys appointed to lead our club in 2019.
“All five are strong on driving standards, upholding the values we hold dearly and will continue steering a positive club culture into the future.
“We know our joint captains will lead from the front and to have both the Top End and also Central Australia represented is fantastic,” he said.
If you like the sound of our leadership group for 2019 then just wait until you see them play! Join us for the NEAFL and VFLW seasons by becoming a member today: www.ntthunder.com.au/membership
Round 1 begins THIS Saturday 6 April against the Brisbane Lions – 6:30pm at TIO Stadium.