Main content
United by Purple

Pavlich to relinquish captaincy

Matthew Pavlich talks to Channel 7 about his decision to relinquish Freo's captaincy. Matthew Pavlich will not captain the Freo Dockers in 2016.

Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich today advised the playing group that he would not seek a 10th season as skipper, saying it was the “right time” for a new leader to take on the role he has filled since 2007.

The six-time Doig Medallist and six-time All Australian, who has captained the side in 189 of his 335 games for Fremantle, said it had been an honour and a privilege to lead the club for the past nine years.

“First and foremost, it’s the right time for the football club - the right time for me to step aside and allow a new player or players the opportunity to lead,” said Pavlich, who spent several weeks in the off-season considering his future before announcing his decision to play on for a 17th season.

“I have absolutely loved the honour and privilege of captaining Fremantle for the past nine years. Leading the boys out onto the field was always a highlight of my week.

“After considering my playing future last year and the ever increasing responsibilities I have as a father, finalising my university studies and my role as president of the AFL Players’ Association, it is just the right time for both the club and myself.

“As an AFL player you must commit entirely to the cause and that’s magnified even further as a captain. Both mentally and physically it takes its toll and, given where my body is at, I also need to be focused on getting the best out of myself to ensure that my on field play continues to benefit the team."

Captaincy candidates

Despite his decision to relinquish the captaincy, Pavlich said he would be a willing participant of the leadership group in 2017 if the players voted that way.

“If the group sees it fit that there is a role for me, I’d love to assist in the transition phase to a new captain. I would be willing to fulfil that role and do whatever was best for this playing group,” he said.

Reflecting on his time as Fremantle’s longest serving skipper, Pavlich, who sits sixth on the all-time AFL games as captain list, said he took on the role at what was a “challenging stage” for the club.

“But I’ve always really enjoyed the constant challenge of setting high standards on and off the field - both for the players at Fremantle and to the community.” he said.

“It was a responsibility I unashamedly took incredibly seriously.

“Being a part of a driven leadership group during the past four years of the team playing consistent finals football and leading the club in its first grand final are certainly highlights.

“I’ve acquired a lifetime of knowledge in the role and, in particular, want to thank Chris Bond and Ross Lyon for the assistance and guidance throughout my journey as captain and also my fellow leadership group members who have been a great support to me along the way.”

Most AFL games as captain
1 - Stephen Kernahan 226 games
2 - Dick Reynolds 224 games
3 - Ted Whitten 212 games
4 - Michael Voss 210 games
5 - Nick Riewoldt 199 games
6 - Matthew Pavlich 189 games
7 - John Nicholls 188 games
8 - Wayne Carey 184 games
9 - Paul Kelly 182 games
10 - Danny Frawley 177 games
Fremantle's captain history
Matthew Pavlich 189 games
Peter Bell 107 games
Adrian Fletcher & Shaun McManus 44 games
Peter Mann 40 games
Ben Allan 22 games
Chris Bond 19 games

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs