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Arnell awarded AFLW captaincy

AFLW captains announced Watch as the AFLW captains are announced to the playing group.

Basketballer-turned-footballer Lauren Arnell has been named as the historic first captain of the Carlton Football Club AFL Women’s team.

Arnell was unveiled as captain in front of her teammates on Monday evening, while Brianna Davey and Madeline Keryk were announced as vice-captains.

After a thorough process the Club’s coaching panel, including senior coach Damien Keeping, established a three-player leadership structure. Keeping praised Arnell’s natural leadership skills, which made her a prime candidate for the historic role.

“Lauren has such an admirable passion for Carlton, and more broadly the game, which helps motivate her teammates to perform at a very high level,” Keeping said.

“Her leadership qualities have been evident from very early on, and Lauren is a wonderful role model for our younger players in particular. She has already demonstrated her ability to create strong relationships with all her teammates.

“Lauren has a very clear understanding of the opportunities that are in front of both her and her teammates, and brings a wealth of experience to the role.”

In 2016, the eight-time Darebin premiership player became the Blues’ first Visy Female Football Ambassador, and played a pivotal role in shaping Carlton’s successful bid for one of the eight licenses. Arnell was then selected by Carlton as its first priority selection in August last year.

Hailing from Clarkefield in Victoria, Arnell played basketball until she was 17 years old, before taking up football in 2005.

Captain Lauren Arnell (middle) alongside vice-captains Brianna Davey and Madeline Keryk. (Photo: Carlton Media)

The 29-year-old said it was a huge honour to be named inaugural Carlton captain. 

“With the rich history of the Carlton Football Club, and the talent of many of my teammates, it’s a massive honour to be named captain of the Blues. It is humbling,” Arnell said. 

“We have an incredible network of coaches and support staff, led by Damien in particular, and a group of very passionate girls who understand the responsibilities of being inaugural women’s players for Carlton.

“Both Bri and Maddie are fantastic leaders in their own right and I am looking forward to working closely with my teammates to build on what is already a great culture in our new team. Round 1 is only a few weeks away and we just can’t wait to put practice into play and represent the navy blue.”

Meanwhile, Keeping said Davey, who was named as a marquee player for Carlton in July last year, and Keryk, selected with pick 115 in the draft, will provide solid support for Arnell as vice captains throughout the season.

“Together, Bri and Maddie will assist Lauren in driving high standards around the Club, while also encouraging their teammates both on and off the field,” Keeping said.

“Both young players have a terrific work ethic which will no doubt filter through to the rest of the squad, and as younger members of the team this experience will further develop their existing leadership skills.”

Carlton’s AFLW team will line-up against traditional rivals Collingwood in the season opener on Friday 3 February at Olympic Park Oval. 

Arnell’s playing career highlights:

8 x VWFL premierships with Darebin Falcons

6 x Victorian rep

3 x All-Australian

2013 Darebin leading goal kicker

Played for the Western Bulldogs in all five AFL exhibition games