Rory Sloane gave up more than just the captaincy on Saturday, departing the Crows’ leadership group which he had been part of since 2012. But the star says titles don’t mean everything.
Adelaide veteran Rory Sloane says he doesn’t “need a title” to be a leader after removing himself from the club’s leadership group for the coming season.
Sloane confirmed on Saturday that he had not only stepped down as Crows captain after four years in the role but that he had also given up his position in the leadership group, something he had been part of since 2012.
While he will be without an official title in 2023 – just like fellow former captain Taylor Walker – Sloane said he would continue to bring leadership attributes on and off the field and lend support to new skipper Jordan Dawson.
“It’s a great position that our footy club’s in to have myself, Tex … and Dawson out there – one skipper on each line,” Sloane said.
“You don’t need a title to lead and that’s been one of my main messages to the group. Some of the best leaders through history have never had a title.”
Sloane said his “sole focus” had been on his body over the off-season as he continues to recover from an ACL injury he suffered against Richmond in Round 5 last year.
The 32-year-old has integrated back into main training in recent weeks as he sets his sights on a Round 1 return.
“The goal for me was really clear. Round 1 was just under 11 months so it was a goal I set for myself and it is really achievable right now,” Sloane said.
“I feel in great shape right now. I’m back in full training and really enjoying my footy and where my body’s at and I’m excited for this season.”
DAWSON’S PROMISE AFTER BEING NAMED NEW CROWS SKIPPER
New Adelaide captain Jordan Dawson says he will bring a “hard edge” and hold “teammates accountable” as the Crows seek to jump up the ladder this season.
Dawson was officially unveiled as the successor to Rory Sloane on Saturday, voted in by his teammates just 16 months after arriving at the club from Sydney.
The 25-year-old met with Sloane and Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks for a coffee on Thursday where the decision was formalised, before being ticked off by senior management and the club’s board.
“Growing up as an Adelaide supporter and being from South Australia, it’s a real privilege and something that I’m obviously going to take really seriously,” Dawson said.
“Being voted in by the other players as well was really important to me and I’m just so grateful for the opportunity.
“I’m very compassionate and caring but I do have a hard edge to me and I want to win. This club and where we’re at feels like we’re in a position to start winning. Game day, my ability to perform but also hold my teammates accountable is the path where I want to go down.”
Dawson was added to Adelaide’s leadership group mid-season last year and thrived both on and off field.
The rebounding defender finished second behind Rory Laird in the club’s best-and-fairest count after playing all 22 games and averaging 24.6 disposals in his first season with the club.
“The way I’m going to go about it is pretty similar,” Dawson said.
“I’m going to look to improve and be the best person I can be but I feel like the reason that I’m here is because I’m authentic in who I am and I’m not going to change that. Hopefully game day that means I just keep doing what I’m doing.”
Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks said the time had been right for Sloane to “pass on the baton” after four years in the role and Dawson had been a clear choice to take over.
“He’s a natural leader. When we targeted Jordy to get him to the footy club we could see the leadership on-field that he was displaying at Sydney,” Nicks said.
“We’ve got numerous strong leaders at the footy club and they’ve all got their own strengths. Probably what gave Jordy the nod was some of his on-field attributes but also the backing of his teammates. It was unanimous that Jordy was our next captain when the time was right.”
The Crows won just eight games to finish 14th on the ladder last season – their third bottom-five finish in as many years.
However, Nicks said he was confident the club was heading in the right direction after a strong summer on the track.
“We feel like we’ve done more work than we did last year, all our numbers are pointing in the right direction and we’re getting some experience under our belt,” Nicks said.
“We’re confident we’re going to give it a good crack this year but it’s about doing that week-in, week-out.”
Originally published as Adelaide Crows captaincy news: Rory Sloane hands over captaincy, leaves leadership group