Liam Duggan and Oscar Allen. Picture: AFL Photos

WEST Coast has appointed Oscar Allen and Liam Duggan as co-captains to replace retired premiership midfielder Luke Shuey in a decision that marks generational change at the rebuilding club. 

Allen and Duggan, who are 24 and 26 respectively, are the Eagles' second set of co-captains in their 37-year history, with the pair emerging as standout options during an off-season voting process involving players, coaches and senior staff. 

The new leaders, who will be supported by sole vice-captain Tom Barrass in a three-man leadership group, were presented to a rousing applause from club staff on Wednesday, declaring they would lead a young team with their actions. 

"It's a massive honour and I'm excited to do it with Duggo. I think we balance off each other really well and I'm excited about what we can do together and help propel this group forward," Allen said. 

"I want to be someone alongside Duggo that is trusted and well-respected within the playing group, but also finding the right balance between performing … but also having the empathy that a lot of other great leaders have had to support players within the four walls. 

"We are both similar in that we like to lead by actions, and that's probably the main way we're going to go about this. 

"We're both just going to be ourselves and that's held us in pretty good stead to get to where we are today. There's no real need to change that."  

Oscar Allen leads the team onto the field ahead of the R20 match between West Coast and North Melbourne at Optus Stadium on July 30, 2023. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

The leadership group has been trimmed for 2024, with premiership defender Jeremy McGovern stepping back to focus on his football after being restricted to nine games last season. 

Duggan, who was part of the leadership group last season, said the way duties had been shared under past captains Shuey and Shannon Hurn meant the decision to implement co-captains would be easy for the players to adjust to. 

"Although the club has had one captain during my time and Oscar's time, it hasn't just been run by one player in that leadership group," Duggan said.  

"Although there's two people with the label now, we'll still be working with the team as Luke did and Shannon did. It's going to be a team effort. 

"It's a fresh start for this group with 22 blokes under 21, and it's a great platform for us to continue to build now and we'll really hone in on the energy these blokes are bringing. 

"Everyone is really excited about where we're heading and this is just another part of that process."

The appointment of champion pair Dean Kemp and Ben Cousins as co-captains in 2001 was the only other season in which West Coast has handed the role to two players, with coach Adam Simpson confident it was a decision that would benefit a young list.   

"We think it's a real positive step forward for our footy club and our future," he said.  

"We've got 22 players under 21, so half our list is young and these guys are young enough also with a connection to our older players. 

"We're not forcing it. It just felt right. Then Tommy Barrass as the vice just complements it really well. He's probably our spiritual leader with how he goes about it."