NT Thunder is delighted to unveil the group that will lead the ThunderW team in its inaugural VFL Women’s season.
Appointed to the helm is Darwin-based, AFLW player Angela Foley who has been selected as the first captain of the side.
Foley, who has enjoyed great success with the Adelaide Crows, including the 2017 NAB AFLW Premiership, rose to football prominence in Darwin’s NTFL competition when she was named the League’s best and fairest two seasons in a row.
She will be aptly assisted by two vice-captains, one based in Darwin and one in Adelaide.
Lisa Roberts, captain of NTFL side Waratah and joint best and fairest (Gwynne Medal) winner this past season, was given the resounding support of her peers when nominated and subsequently voted in at Monday night’s player meeting in Darwin.
Roberts is considered a general in defence on the footy field, and her work with the Australian Defence Force has equipped her with the skills to have a commanding and well-respected presence.
Adelaide-based and former NT local, Sally Riley was selected by coaching staff to join Roberts as vice-captain. Riley, who was the Adelaide Crows’ joint vice-captain with Foley for the past two AFLW seasons moved to Adelaide at the start of this year after spending more than four years in the Top End and becoming a local star with Tracy Village.
She is a tough inside midfielder with clean hands and is the ideal choice to lead the ThunderW contingent based in Adelaide.
Assisting Riley with ThunderW’s direction in South Australia is youngster, Sarah Allan who has been appointed to the leadership group. Allan was earmarked by coaches as having the right attitude and game presence to develop into a leader for the future.
Alice Springs-based Jordann Hickey who plays for the Rovers in the CAFL but also has experience playing in the NTFL and is part of the Pinktails Academy is a utility player and the reigning CAFL leading goal kicker, who has been elevated to the 2018 ThunderW leadership group to represent the Central Australian contingent.
The other two members of the group are both Darwin-based and along with Roberts, were selected by their peers following a nomination and voting process on Monday evening.
Lateesha Jeffrey, who is currently sidelined with an ankle injury, was voted-in for her expert time management skills and ability to prioritise her competing duties. She is the only mother on the leadership group and has led by example not only at Southern Districts but in her professional approach to the VFL W pre-season.
Lauren O’Shea was nominated for her team-first mentality and for being one of the most organised members of the broader group. She prides herself on giving her all and encouraging her teammates.
Foley said she felt privileged and great pride at being named the first captain of NT Thunder’s women’s team.
“I’m honoured to have been selected the inaugural captain. My leadership is an area I have focused on under the guidance of Chelsea Randall and Erin Phillips at the Crows, and I have learnt a lot from them over the past two years.
“I’m very proud to be representing the Northern Territory, and given the direction our football club is heading in, I see great things on the horizon.
“It will be an honour to lead this team out on Saturday for Round 1 against Darebin,” she said.
Explaining the leadership group process, Weatherald said the coaching staff felt that in year one it was important some of the members were selected based on their history and merit, and others were chosen and endorsed by the wider group.
“We appointed Angela as captain because her football experience locally and at the elite level speaks for itself. She does the hard work on and off the field and wears the NT Thunder heart on her sleeve.
“We also felt it important we appoint two players in Adelaide. Sally was a natural choice; her leadership experience combined with her history in the NT are invaluable, and Sarah shows a lot of promise and is the type of person to develop and thrive from this experience.
“Jordann in Alice Springs will make sure the Centralians in the squad have their voice heard and her work ethic is to be admired,” he said.
Speaking to the vote count on Monday night, Weatherald said the players didn’t make it easy on themselves.
“The women did a great job in nominating their peers, and it’s apparent looking at the closeness of the vote count that we have a very willing and able group in Darwin.
“It is where our largest contingent of players is based, and I congratulate Lisa, Lateesha and Lauren on their selection.
“The club is in good hands with the leaders we have, but I am also confident all players will give of themselves and play a part in steering NT Thunder in the right direction,” he said.