AFL 10 months ago

Gunston up for Hawthorn AFL captaincy

  • Gunston up for Hawthorn AFL captaincy

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 14: Jack Gunston of the Hawks celebrates kicking a goal during the round 17 AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Hawthorn Hawks at Sydney Cricket Ground on July 14, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Hawthorn forward Jack Gunston says he's up for captaining the side if Luke Hodge decides to hand over the reins.

Hodge, who led the Hawks to three consecutive flags from 2013 to 2015, has been captain for six years.

And his leadership is likely to be needed more than ever next season, given the Hawks' surprise decision to trade star veterans Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis.

But at 32, Hodge is no certainty to play beyond next season, and Gunston believes it would be invaluable for his replacement to have a crack at the captaincy while Hodge is still around to provide guidance.

"I think if Hodgey wants it, he'll go around again," Gunston said on Monday.

"And why not? We've got one of the greatest captains probably ever to play the game and he's an absolute warrior.

"But if he wants to hand it over, I'm sure there's numerous guys that are ready to take over and it'd be great to be able to do it next to Hodgey while he's still here."

Hodge is yet to indicate whether he wants to retain the role but either way, and the Hawks are expected to vote on the captaincy in early 2017.

Gunston, who is approaching his sixth season with the Hawks after launching his AFL career at Adelaide, says he would be willing to throw his hat in the ring.

"I'd put my hand up," he said.

"I don't mind the leading side of things. I guess I stepped up a little bit over the last year, in the forward line and around the group.

"There are numerous guys that are already in the leadership group that are probably ready to go. I'm still sort of learning the ropes so we'll wait and see."

While Mitchell and Lewis have departed, the remaining leadership group members - Josh Gibson, Isaac Smith and Jarryd Roughead - remain, although there are question marks about Roughead's future as he continues his cancer battle.

Lewis had been considered the most likely to replace Hodge as captain before joining Melbourne during the trade period.

One of Hawthorn's most durable recruits, 25-year-old Gunston has played 113 games and booting 251 goals since moving from the Crows at the end of 2011.

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