Star midfielder Alicia Eva has been reappointed captain of the GIANTS’ AFL Women’s side for the 2021 season.
Eva, 29, took the reins from inaugural AFLW captain Amanda Farrugia following the 2019 season and has led the team through one of the most turbulent years in the club’s short history.
“It’s exciting and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in to a new season with the rest of the leadership group,” Eva said after being reappointed captain.
“It’s important that you don’t dismiss or try and hide the fact that we’ve had really significant challenges in the last 12 months and particularly the last six months.
“We have an incredibly resilient group. We have lost one of our own and that’s still very raw for our group.
“We’ve just been really big on making sure we support our team - not just the players but our staff and everyone in the wider club.
“The focus is on making sure we acknowledge that but we put ourselves in a great position to support our people. When we’ve got good support around us, that enables us to focus on the task at hand.
“We’ve got some really clear objectives we want to achieve this season.”
Eva will be ably supported by the same leadership group as last season - Jessica Dal Pos, Britt Tully, Cora Staunton and Pepa Randall.
Dal Pos was stand-in captain for two matches last season while Eva was out with injury.
Eva said the diverse make-up of the leadership group gives them the ability to connect with all 30 members of the GIANTS’ squad.
“When we put the leadership group together last year, we came up with a different process and part of that process was identifying the different skill sets our team needs in their leaders,” she said.
“Through that, we’ve got some girls that are complete polar opposites.
“But we’ve got a list of 30 girls and not everyone’s the same so we tick all of those boxes and together as a collective unit, we make sure we’re meeting the needs of the playing group.”
While 2020 threw up challenges, Eva said it’s made her grow as a leader.
“There’s so many learning points for me over the past 12 months,” she said.
“Something I’m really focusing on is that influence piece; influence and not control necessarily.
“There are some things you can’t control and I think COVID and the climate that we’re in at the moment … There are some things that are out of your hands but what you can do is make sure you put in place the right support mechanisms to attack those challenges head on and be in a good position when we come through the other side.”
The GIANTS’ AFLW side relocated to Albury on January 1 and will move to another location late next week ahead of practice matches scheduled for the weekend of January 16/17.
Though they’ve had to deal with plenty of uncertainty, Eva said her side are viewing the time together as a group as an important opportunity.
“It’s a bit of a magical, mystery tour,” Eva said.
“Albury’s been really lovely and thank you to the Albury City Council for looking after us.
“We’re not trying to get too far ahead of ourselves. We’ve got to be realistic and respect it is quite a stressful period for a number of players and for staff as well … but we’ve spoken at length around embracing opportunity.
“We’re all here together, we’re all able to train together … there are certain opportunities that are presenting themselves so we’re just making sure we get that balance right and not getting too far ahead of ourselves.
“We’re quite literally attacking every day as it comes.”