Gary Ayres has used Monday night’s Season Launch and Jumper Presentation Night to confirm a new-look 5-man Leadership Group for the 2019 VFL season.
Recently announced as co-captains, Jordan Lisle and Tom O’Sullivan will also be joined by a trio of Borough youngsters dubbed as the club’s official ‘Emerging Leaders’.
Reigning Jack McFarlane Medallist Mack Rivett was the first to be confirmed, with Ayres praising his on and off-field growth over the last 12 months.
“Mack has now taken his leadership qualities, attributes and overall game to another level,” he said.
“He is very much a student of the game, and wants to be involved in the communication of how our group is playing.”
Secondly, the ever-popular Anthony ‘Red’ Anastasio (pictured, below) marked a somewhat surprise addition to the leadership ranks for the year ahead externally, though Ayres said the level of respect that he had gained within the four walls of the club was not to be underestimated.
“’Red’ had an exit meeting (with me) last year, and just his ‘buy-in’ to wanting to make the group better really stood out – and a clear indication to me that he possesses a lot of outstanding leadership qualities to work with,” Ayres said.
Despite recently having the setback of ACL surgery that will see him sidelined for the entirety of the season, Anastasio will now have a significant off-field role to play alongside forward line coach Sam Dwyer.
“’Red’ will help out as an assistant to the forwards during training and matches this season, so still has a big leadership role to play despite not being out there with the boys.”
Blake Pearson, now widely regarded as one of the elite small forwards of the VFL, was the third individual emblazoned with an official leadership title for 2019.
Having recently begun to combine his playing duties with a separate full-time role within the Borough’s strength and conditioning partner, ACE Performance, Ayres said Pearson’s appointment was just reward for his growth in maturity over the last few years.
“Blake has just got better and better the more mature he has got, not only with his individual game but also too with how he communicates to the group,” Ayres said.
“He understands what we want as coaches, and he’s a really good conduit between us and the players.”
On behalf of the Port Melbourne Football Club, we would like to pass on our congratulations to Mack, Anthony and Blake as they join Tom and Jordan as the leaders of our men’s playing group for the year ahead. We wish them all the best!
Article: Sam Wharton.
Main Image (L-R): Mack Rivett, Blake Pearson, Tom O’Sullivan and Jordan Lisle. Credit: Bryce Peterson.