Ange Stannett leads Fremantle out onto the field ahead of round six, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

FREMANTLE'S Ange Stannett will captain the club's AFLW side this year despite being ruled out of the season with an ACL injury.

Stannett, the Dockers' reigning Club Champion, was voted in by the players ahead of incumbent skipper Hayley Miller, who expressed a level of "sadness" at passing on the baton.

Miller, who held the captaincy for the past three seasons, nominated and was voted in as a co-vice-captain alongside key forward Aine Tighe and defender Laura Pugh, with the trio to rotate the game-day captaincy through the season. 

Fremantle's 2022 club champion top three: Ange Stannett, Hayley Miller and Ebony Antonio. Picture: Fremantle FC

All-Australian defender Emma O’Driscoll and recruit Ash Brazill join the leadership group, with experienced forward Gabby O’Sullivan opting not to nominate this season. 

"I’m extremely honoured to be the third women’s captain of this club, and a bit taken aback to be honest, given my personal circumstances," Stannett said.

"It doesn’t change the way you show up for the group, but it is going to mean it will look a bit different, and we’ll be leaning on our other leaders and the entire group. 

"I am so excited for how it is looking for 2024 and I’m very excited with the group we’ve put together, I can’t wait to get to work with all the girls."

While Stannett will be unable to play this season, she had belief in a unique structure that would see a vice-captain on each line while she contributes alongside coaches on the bench. 

"It’s probably something I’m yet to fully be comfortable with myself as well, being the sort of person that likes to get my hands dirty," Stannett said.

"I’ll be on the sidelines helping coach from the bench, and I take a lot of comfort knowing I’ve got a fantastic leadership group alongside me, who are going to be able to step up in those moments for the group."

Stannett paid tribute to Miller, who had shaped her as a leader and set expectations and standards for the group. 

Miller said there were mixed emotions for her, but she was proud to pass the captaincy on to Stannett. 

"I’ve been so proud and honoured to captain this team for the past three seasons. It’s been the highlight of my career so far and I think it’s natural to feel a little level of sadness to move out of that role," Miller said. 

"But I get to hand over the captaincy to Ange Stannett, someone who embodies our trademark in everything she does. I know she will do an incredible job and I will be right by her side in this next phase for our club."