CARLTON will have dual skippers in 2019, with the Blues confirming that young stars Patrick Cripps and Sam Docherty will take the mantle as the club's co-captains next season.
Their appointments mark a first for the Blues, with Cripps and Docherty to become the only pair of full-time co-captains in the club's illustrious 154-year history.
They will assume the role from veteran midfielder Marc Murphy, who has stepped down from the position after leading Carlton as its sole captain for the last six years.
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Cripps, 23, enjoyed a standout 2018 season where he established himself as one of the AFL's most dominant inside ball winners. It resulted in his first inclusion in an All Australian team and a fourth-place finish in the Brownlow Medal.
"This honour is incredibly special," Cripps said.
"Playing footy at the highest level for one of the biggest clubs in the competition is huge in itself, but when you think about being named captain of the club, it's probably something you could never really dream of. It’s surreal, but a huge honour.
"I try and lead by my actions and I really believe that leadership is something you can’t master, but you always try to improve. So the biggest lesson I learnt this year in that stand-in role was to lead by being true to yourself."
Docherty, who will turn 25 later this month, spent the entirety of the season on the sidelines after rupturing his ACL in November last year. However, the defender won the club's best and fairest in 2016 and was named an All Australian in 2017.
"It's a big club with such a rich history, with some legends who have been captains of the club themselves and we're lucky enough to now join our names to that list of leaders, which is an incredible privilege," Docherty said.
"Clearly the joint captaincy is a new direction for the club, but both Crippa and I have sat down and had really honest chats about how we’re going to take this group forward together.
"Despite our various differences in personality and approaches to leadership, we complement each other well and the main thing for us is our common goal to take this club back to sustained success."
Sam Docherty missed the entire season following a knee reconstruction. Picture: AFL Photos
Both Cripps and Docherty have spent the last three years in the club's leadership group, while they were also both upgraded to the position as joint vice-captains ahead of the 2018 campaign.
"When Marc and I sat down towards the end of the season, he let me know he felt the timing was right to step away from the role for the next generation," Carlton coach Brendon Bolton said.
"For some time, Murph had wanted to build leadership density across the group to smoothly transition into the next appointment – and with that, came an extensive process internally to identify the next captain of the Carlton Football Club.
"Quite unanimously, it was determined that both Sam and Patrick would each bring a unique lens and purpose to the role and as such, we felt it right to make the dual appointment.
"It's a new direction we're heading in with the structure, but one I believe will strongly benefit our young playing group in years to come."
Having taken the position as Carlton's captain from Chris Judd in 2013, Murphy led the club to a finals victory in his maiden season as skipper, but believes the time is right to hand over the role to the club's next generation.
"It has been a true privilege to lead the Carlton Football Club for the past six years," Murphy said.
"Personally, with a young family now, the timing felt right to hand the role over to the boys and ultimately the decision was about taking our club into the future.
"It was pretty strongly felt across the board that both Doc and Crippa were the perfect pair to take this club into the future, with their leadership differences complementing each other strongly."