Rockliff named captain
Former Benalla footballer Tom Rockliff was last week named the new captain of the Brisbane Lions.
The AFL club announced on Thursday that the 24-year-old would take over from former captain Jed Adcock this season.
The announcement caps off a brilliant 2014 season in which Rockliff was selected in the All-Australian team and won the Merrett-Murray Medal as Brisbane’s best-and-fairest player.
Rockliff said he was humbled to be bestowed the role after an extensive selection process.
‘‘It is a little bit humbling and something I take with great pride, and it’s a great opportunity to be respected among my peers, but also the footy club as a whole,’’ he said.
‘‘It was very exciting at the time and a huge honour for me.’’
Rockliff will be the fourth Brisbane Lions player to be the sole captain, following in the footsteps of Michael Voss, Jonathan Brown and Adcock.
Daniel Rich, Pearce Hanley and Dayne Zorko were selected as vicecaptains, while Adcock will transition into a mentoring role for the leadership group.
The new Brisbane Lions captain said he felt lucky to be able to gain insight from Adcock.
‘‘Jed is an outstanding leader and he could have easily done the job again but everyone thought the timing was right now to swap positions and for me to take over,’’ Rockliff said.
‘‘For him to stay around and help me out will be massive for me to continue to support me and the playing group.
‘‘It’ll be important that I continue my development as a footy player and continue to learn and develop my leadership skills as well.’’
Born in Benalla, Rockliff was overlooked in the 2008 National Draft before being selected by Brisbane Lions in the pre-season draft that year.
‘‘I don’t think you should ever give up in anything you do, it’s probably a good lesson for a lot of young people and sportsmen,’’ he said.
‘‘If you want something bad enough you can continue to work and hopefully one day it will fall your way.
‘‘I was lucky enough to get picked up and I’m really living my dream at the moment.’’
Despite finishing 15th on the AFL ladder last season, Rockliff said there was plenty to be excited about for his team this season.
‘‘I think you’ll see an improvement, I think you’ll see a team that are committed, really play hard, we’ll be in games for a long period of time and hopefully we’ll get results,’’ he said.
‘‘The most important thing is that we’ve got a really good core group of young guys coming through now.’’
Rockliff has played 101 games and averaged 32.7 touches a game in 2014.