The University Blacks will combine experience with youth in 2017 as a new-look leadership group takes charge.
Bede Mahon retains the captaincy of the Senior team for the fifth-consecutive year after a stellar 2016 season which saw him finish third in the VAFA’s Woodrow Medal, while ruckman Josh Steadman will be vice-captain.
Rising stars Hugh Curnow and Jordan Quaile round out the club’s on-field leadership group for 2017 on the back of winning the last two Cordner Medals between them.
Mahon said he was looking forward to working with them in the Blacks’ leadership group this season.
“Stedders (Josh Steadman) has played some good footy over the last couple of years and he’s been training really well, he’s got himself really fit so he’s an obvious choice as vice-captain,” he said.
“Jordan Quaile and Hugh Curnow are both really mature for their age – they’ve both won the club best and fairest in the last couple of years – so there’s no issue with the form of these blokes and all three of them are quite level-headed.
“They’ve got some great ideas and are very thorough and mature in their thinking, so I think we’re well looked after on that front having those blokes come in.”
Steadman has become one of the leading ruckman in the Premier division of the VAFA, which was recognised with eight votes in the 2016 Woodrow Medal count as well as being named in the Blacks’ best players on eight occasions.
Curnow was among the Blacks’ most consistent performers last year, being named in the best players ten times in 19 games and kicking 11 goals, polling eight votes in the 2016 Woodrow Medal and taking out last year’s Cordner Medal as the Blacks best and fairest player.
Qualie started his career at the Blacks in 2014 and after working his way through Under 19’s, Reserves and then breaking into the senior team, became the youngest Cordner Medallist in the club’s history – winning the award at just 19 years of age.
Mahon said the club had enjoyed a positive pre-season and were looking forward to Round 1 on Saturday, with the Seniors and Reserve sides taking on Old Trinity at the University Main Oval.
“Pre-season’s been good, we’ve had a couple of good hit outs in the practice matches and we’ve had good numbers ever since we started in December,” he said.
“Largely we’ve got the same playing group but everyone’s had a good pre-season. Injury-wise we’ve been good over the course of the pre-season so we’re looking to have a good crack at it on Saturday.”