Avenel locks in leaders for new season

By Meg Saultry

Local football has yet to receive a green light to return to competition this year amid COVID-19 restrictions, but that doesn’t mean Avenel isn’t looking towards the future, with the Swans recently announcing their new leadership group.

Midfielder Kyle Maynard was voted in as captain for the next two seasons early last month, while young gun Braydon Avola, who stormed away with the club’s best-and-fairest award last season, will support Maynard as vice-captain.

The Swans lost the majority of their elected leaders in the off-season with co-captains Michael Tinkler and Michael Morgan departing the club, as well as leadership group members Garrett Davies and Angus Durnan.

But despite the leadership vacuum, Avenel coach Kasey Duncan said he expected Maynard and Avola to fit into their roles seamlessly.

“Kyle came to the club last year. He’s got Ovens and Murray experience and that leadership shows on the ground,” Duncan said.

“He wasn’t able to show the best of what he can do last year. He missed a few games last season through injuries, so I expect him to be right up there in the next two seasons.

“It was an easy decision and he had put his hand up for it.

“And Braydon, he is a good little fella. He cares for his mates on and off the field, and they love him too. He is a clear leader.”

Rounding out the new-look leadership group will be Jack Myers, Ryan Lambert, returning local Max Lawrence and new recruit Jak Hancock.

Duncan said the club had many leaders among the group, revealing up to 15 players received votes throughout the 5-4-3-2-1 voting process.

Duncan and assistant coach Dean Giles will also serve as playing coaches.

“It's brilliant - 15 guys were voted for and it speaks tenfold of the club,” Duncan said.

“And to have them all young guys is even better. They’ll take the club into the future.”

Although there is no official word as to when competition football will return, restricted training can begin as early as next week.

But Avenel has shown no sign of slowing down in lockdown as it looks to better its elimination final loss last season.

“We’ve had group calls and the team is staying in contact regularly in our Facebook group chat,” Duncan said.

“Jak Hancock has put together some running sessions and we’ve been training in pairs so we can touch the footy and keep the legs ticking over.

“We’ve just tried to keep up the camaraderie. We’re a tight-knit group which helps out.”