WEST COAST premiership skipper Shannon Hurn has relinquished the captaincy after five seasons in the job.
The 32-year-old, who has been named the Virgin Australia AFL All-Australian vice-captain in both of the past two seasons, decided to hand the responsibility to the next wave of Eagles leaders after coming to the realisation he could no longer devote the time required to lead the team.
“There have been ongoing conversations with the club for the past couple of years and this just feels like the right time to relinquish my role as captain,” Hurn said in a statement released by the club on Wednesday.
“Instinct is an important part of the game and my gut tells me this is the right time for the next generation of players to lead the way. This is a decision that is based around what is best for the club over the next four or five years, not just the 2020 season.
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“I will still lead in the same way that I always have. I am committed to helping my teammates be better players and to build towards our next premiership. That doesn’t change …
“While I have really enjoyed being captain, I feel at this stage in my career I can’t commit the time and pay the respect that the role needs and requires.”
The Eagles will engage players and key football department staff to provide the club’s board with a recommendation for a replacement for Hurn.
Josh Kennedy and Luke Shuey were both vice-captains in 2019 and appear the frontrunners to take over, while Andrew Gaff, Jeremy McGovern and Nic Naitanui rounded out the Eagles’ six-man leadership group.
The no-nonsense Hurn was lauded by West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett as an outstanding leader.
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“Shannon has led our club impeccably over the last five or six years and could not be more highly regarded by everyone at the club,” Nisbett said.
“He calls it as he sees it and even in making this decision he has been very clear about it. Obviously he will continue to play an important role in the team and will support his successor to transition into the position.”
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A country boy from South Australia’s Barossa Valley, Hurn captained West Coast 120 times, including three games as an acting captain in 2014, to be third on the list of longest serving Eagles captains behind only John Worsfold (138) and Darren Glass (129).
In his first season as skipper he led the Eagles to the 2015 Grand Final, which they lost to Hawthorn.
The 269-gamer is one of just three premiership captains at West Coast, along with club greats Worsfold (1992 and 1994) and Chris Judd (2006).
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