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Blues overhaul leadership group, but Murphy retains captaincy

Nick Bowen  February 15, 2016 8:00 PM

AFL 2016 Portraits - Carlton

Marc Murphy will captain Carlton again in 2016

'Murph' has had the full support of the whole playing group, but I think the process we had to go through was part of having a fresh start for the whole club,

MARC Murphy has been reappointed as Carlton captain for 2016, but the Blues have overhauled their leadership group with the skipper and Bryce Gibbs the only survivors from the 2015 line-up.

After undertaking an extensive leadership program this summer under new coach Brendon Bolton, the Blues announced an expanded seven-man leadership group on Monday night.

In the new-look team, veteran Kade Simpson will take over as sole vice-captain from Murphy's 2015 joint deputies Bryce Gibbs and Michael Jamison.

Gibbs has been retained in the leadership team, but Jamison is one of three members of the five-man 2015 group to step aside, the others being Sam Rowe and Lachie Henderson, who joined Geelong in last year's trade period. 

Youngsters Patrick Cripps, 20, and Sam Docherty, 22, are among five additions to the 2016 group, as the Blues' next generation of leaders begins to emerge.

Hard-running midfielder Ed Curnow, 26, also joins the leadership team for the first time, while former members Simpson, 31, and Andrew Walker, 29, return after one-year absences.

Walker told AFL.com.au Murphy had always loomed as the logical captaincy choice, but said this summer's leadership review had been an extremely worthwhile process.

"'Murph' has had the full support of the whole playing group, but I think the process we had to go through was part of having a fresh start for the whole club," Walker said.

"You have to go through a process to get the best leadership group and obviously the best captain and people to lead from the front.

"Once again, 'Murph', being the true professional that he is, led from the front and obviously was the standout again. It just shows the character of the bloke.

"After the tough year that we had and the amount of scrutiny that he copped I think the natural thing would have been for somebody to go into their shell.

"But he has always stood up and really been at the forefront for the Carlton footy club. He copped a lot of scrutiny, but I think the way he was able to come out of it and the amount of confidence he's still got to lead the footy club is going to be great for us going forward."

Walker said Carlton's leadership program had also helped unearth some new leaders, which he hoped would give Carlton the "leadership density" it needed to climb back up the ladder.

"I've been here 13 years but all of a sudden there are voices just coming from left right and centre. I think that's what the program has allowed people to do," Walker said.

"To be a leader you don't have to be in the game like I have for 13 years. There are blokes who have been here one and two years who are already standing out to me as potential leaders.

"And that's what it's about: having weight of numbers and having leadership density, that's how we can go forward."

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