In total, 10 players will hold leadership positions across the Male and Female sides who being their respective Coates Talent League campaigns against the Oakleigh Chargers at home on Saturday, April 27. 

The boys side will be led by a six-player group containing Zai Millane, Leo Lombard, Joe Kennedy, Zeke Uwland, Finn Hay and Lachlan Gulbin.

“We have had an excellent pre-season and the development of the players has been very impressive,” Academy U18 Boys Coach Jarrod Cotton said. 

“The whole squad is very excited to test themselves against quality opposition in other Academies and in the Coates Talent League.”

 The girls’ four-person leadership comprises co-captains Josie McCabe and Mia Salisbury and vice-captains Ava Usher and Aleria Usher.

 “We took a different approach to the leadership section process this pre-season with players self-nominating themselves as potential leaders by giving a 5-minute presentation to the group. Each player then voted in a 3-2-1 format to select their leaders, providing reasoning for their choices,” U18 Girls Coach Jessica Sedunary said.

 “These four young female leaders have all emphasised the importance of creating an environment where elite standards, people and connections truly matter for their team. They have also acknowledged the significance of relationships with staff and our people surrounding the club, which has resonated well with the group. 

 “Throughout the process, I was clear that leadership is more than a title. It requires understanding, energy, inspiration, hard work, empathy, and discipline. All four girls have shown these traits in abundance.

 “The team has put in a tremendous amount of work during this pre-season, not only to improve their athletic abilities but also to grow as people. As the season approaches, I am excited to see the girls showcase their talents and see their hard work pay off.”

 Both sides will play four matches across four consecutive weekends in the Coates Talent League with home games against Oakleigh (April 27) and the Geelong Falcons (May 12).

 The confirmation of the two leadership groups also comes the day following the announcement that another three SUNS Academy products will make their AFL debut this weekend.