WEST COAST coach Adam Simpson says the ability to deliver on the field is the number one criteria the Eagles' next captain has to fill.
He said the club was working through a process to determine how it would go about choosing the captain and hoped to be able to announce the leader early in the new year.
But the coach (and former North Melbourne captain) had no doubt that the first priority for any captain was to perform in games.
"Probably the first thing you have to look at in terms of leadership [is] can they deliver on field and lead by example then all the rest will flow from there," Simpson said.
West Coast rotated the captaincy last season after the mid-season retirement of incumbent Darren Glass.
Glass captained the club in 129 games and was officially appointed to the top job at the start of 2008, leading the club through a strong cultural repositioning.
After round 13, Shannon Hurn captained the club for two games without a win, Josh Kennedy (six games, three wins), Eric Mackenzie (two games, one win) and Matthew Priddis (four games, two wins).
The other favoured contenders Scott Selwood and Beau Waters were both sidelined with injury. Selwood missed rounds 13 to 22 with an ankle injury, while Waters failed to play a single game in 2014 due to a shoulder injury.
Simpson, who was Kangaroos skipper in 110 of his 306 games, said the Eagles would consult players, coaches and the board to develop a process to select the skipper.
"[We] haven't worked out how we're going to do the process yet," Simpson said. "We'll work through that, hopefully we'll have something around Christmas."
Simpson is not the only coach facing a decision on the skipper this pre-season but at least he has the advantage of knowing the players after one season in the job.
The Western Bulldogs are yet to appoint a coach with Luke Beveridge expected to present to the selection panel next week, following on from Brett Montgomery's presentation this week.
After the departure of captain Ryan Griffen to Greater Western Sydney and Brownlow Medallist Adam Cooney to Essendon during the trade period and the retirement of Daniel Giansiracusa, the Dogs have very few experienced players on the list.
They have former captain Matthew Boyd and popular defender Robert Murphy, who have played more than 200 games as well as Dale Morris on 193 games.
Will Minson has played 179 games but only really established himself in 2013 and then had a poor 2014.
When AFL.com.au asked Murphy on Thursday whether he had aspirations to captain the club he deflected the question saying it was too early and the initial focus of the club needed to be on the coach.
If Beveridge was to win the job, the appointment would be a vital decision given the way sections of the Bulldogs' playing group performed on and off the field during 2014.
Murphy appears the most logical choice at this stage.
Will veteran Robert Murphy be the Western Bulldogs' next captain? Picture: AFL Media
Adelaide's new coach Phil Walsh also faces a decision in relation to the Crows' captaincy after incumbent Nathan Van Berlo's battles with injury in 2014.
Van Berlo missed 2014 with an Achilles injury after captaining the club for 67 games from 2011-13.
Walsh told the club's website last month that a decision on who would lead the Crows would be made over summer but his expectations of what was required were similar to Simpson.
"I'm very strong that leaders need to be able to get the job done on game day. That's the thing I'll be looking for most in my leaders, that on game day they can play their role and take other people with them," Walsh said.
Rory Sloane and Patrick Dangerfield shared the on-field duties in 2014 in Van Berlo's absence. They finished second and third in the club best and fairest, however Walsh has said he will not appoint co-captains.
The club has also appointed former Eagles skipper Glass as a leadership consultant so he would be expected to have some input into the decision.
Presuming there is little other change, only Greater Western Sydney, Melbourne and Richmond will start 2015 with captains who have played fewer than 150 games.