Local Sport

ThunderW Captains Revealed

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NT Thunder is thrilled to announce Lateesha Jeffrey will captain the ThunderW team for the 2019 Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s season, taking over from inaugural captain Angela Foley.

Jeffrey, better known as ‘Lala’, is in her second season with ThunderW and her second year of being part of the leadership group after she helped lead under the direction of Foley in 2018. Her promotion to captain came off the back of the leadership vote at the inaugural ThunderW camp in Darwin on the weekend.

Jeffrey captained Southern Districts to their grand final appearance in the local NTFL season, eventually finishing 2018/19 runners-up, and is a premiership player for the Palmerston Football Club.

Jeffrey follows in the footsteps of her father Russell, a decorated Territory footballer, who donned the Northern Territory representative guernsey an incredible 24 times, captaining the team on several occasions. He played 50 AFL games for St Kilda and the Brisbane Bears and is an AFLNT Hall of Fame and Team of the Century member.

The younger Jeffrey will be ably assisted by joint vice-captains Lisa Roberts and Angela Foley and leadership group members Ebony Miller and Stevie-Lee Thompson.

Roberts continues in her vice-captain position after also being voted in by her teammates. She is considered a general in defence on the footy field and captained her Waratah team to another NTFL premiership in March, and won the Williams Medal for best on ground in the process.

Co vice-captain Foley remains on the leadership team after relocating to Adelaide at the start of the year and winning her second AFLW Premiership with the Adelaide Crows. The versatile midfielder/defender rose to football prominence playing for Waratah in the NTFL when she was named the League’s best and fairest two seasons in a row. Last year she was recognised for her outstanding contribution to ThunderW and picked up the inaugural Club Champion award.

Miller, who hails from Alice Springs, had an outstanding NTFL season playing for Southern Districts, and will play her second season for ThunderW after a breakout year in the NTFL. She was regularly in her team’s best and performed her role in the NTFL grand final coming second in the Williams Medal voting behind Roberts. With a strong footy background stemming from the CAFL, her leadership and experience will be valuable for the Alice Springs-based squad members.

Thompson is another Adelaide-based player and had an outstanding season in the 2019 AFLW competition, capping her year with a premiership, AFLW and Adelaide Crows leading goalkicker award with 13 goals and was named in the 2019 All Australian team. A product of the Wanderers Football Club in the NTFL, Thompson was also a member of the Adelaide Crows premiership in 2017.

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.

In a new initiative for 2019, NT Thunder’s coach and management team have come up with an Emerging Leaders program, which will see young players, Janet Baird and Tayla Thorn, as well as the NT Thunder Under 18 Women’s Academy leaders (yet to be appointed), rotate through the VFLW leadership group as a sixth member.

The purpose of the Emerging Leaders position is to assist those players who have been identified as potential future leaders of ThunderW to be exposed to the inner workings of the group. Each senior leadership meeting will have one position reserved for a member of the Emerging Leaders to observe and participate.

Jeffrey was thrilled at being given the top job and already has her eyes firmly set on another tilt at finals.

“I’m feeling really humbled and excited. It’s a mix of emotions because it’s a huge honour to be the captain.

“Success would be making finals and going that next step. I think we got a bit of a taste last season so this season the job needs to get done…we’ve done everything right this pre-season, we’ve done everything right in the offseason, so we are keen to make it work this time,” she said.

NT Thunder Manager Andrew Hodges backed the playing group’s choice of leaders and explained the cross-location setup.

“It’s really great to have once again such a quality group appointed to lead our club in 2019; we congratulate them on their appointment.

“Lala is a natural leader, who has the backing of the playing group after she developed her skills in the captain role for Southern Districts and from her time in last year’s ThunderW leadership group.

“We believe that appointing leaders in each region will assist in driving team standards, values and behaviour,” he said.

Image: AFLNT Media