Eagles’ 2020 Club Captains Confirmed
A new generation of player leadership will take its place in 2020 to take the Eagles forward.
The role of club captain is to be the face of the club, set and uphold the values and behaviours expected of all Gungahlin Eagles, and represent the playing group on a range of matters from media commitments to special events.
Club President Eoghan O’Byrne made the announcement at the Eagles Player Information Night, that Stuart Crew, Shaneqwa Lee-Edwards, and Jamie Kotz will form the club’s leadership this year.
O’Byrne said these three are the perfect mix to pick up where their predecessors left off.
He says “For the last two years, Chris, Mitch, and Julia have done a tremendous job as our club captains and I can’t thank them enough for their hard work and commitment to their roles.
“It’s an exciting time for the Eagles. We really formalised the role of club captains many years ago with Connor and Ben, and now we have a formalised platform for our playing group of 190 senior players, and 170 juniors to be represented appropriately.
“The Board and Committee, along with the coaching and management teams have lengthy discussions about the role of club captain and who it should be. I’m confident we’ve got a really special trio to take us forward as a club.”
Stuart Crew currently sits on 99 games after a busy finals series in 2019 which saw him take out the Eagles Player of the Finals Series award at the Jack Dempsey Medal night.
Crew thought he was the subject of a cruel prank when O’Byrne reached out to give him the news of his appointment.
He said “I had a missed call from Eoghan, and he’d sent me an email – I thought his emails had been hacked and it was a spoof, but once I read what he had to say I was honoured to have even been considered.”
Those who know Crew would say without hesitation, he’s loyal to a fault. Crew has played in all four senior men’s teams, has captained three of them, and has a love for the club that he puts down to the sense of community.
“I came to Canberra not really knowing anyone, but from day one at the Eagles people have introduced themselves and welcomed me and my family.
“I am keen to really see that piece around player welfare brought to life so that we can provide a platform for current and emerging players to enjoy senior rugby for as long as I have.”
Shaneqwa Lee-Edwards lives and breathes anything footy-related. She’s a natural leader who has helped take the Eagles Women’s side to new heights, reaching their grand final in 2019, only to fall short at the final hurdle.
In a time where equal opportunities for women in sport is becoming much more available, and deservingly so, Shaneqwa is focussed on what she can do to inspire the current and future generations of girls at the Eagles.
She says “What excites me the most would probably be the amount of fun us young ones and ladies are going to have!
“I love rugby, have a huge passion to play and just can’t wait to get more involved. We want to work on connecting with the juniors and especially young girls to make sure there is a bright future for the Eagles women’s team.”
When asked about the most exciting part of 2020, it was clear that getting the ball in hand tops the list.
“I’m just really looking forward to playing rugby. Given I was basically raised through rugby my childhood was very different to others, you would always see me playing footy or touch or tag. I’m also keen on winning the cup, that’ll be the goal for this year. We came so close last year!
Considering Shaneqwa joined the Eagles in recent years, she’s got a great sense of pride in the jersey and what it means to lead the Eagles.
“I’m honoured and grateful to be given such a huge opportunity. I was welcomed and supported from the very start of my time here, and I love the sense of being a part of the community and it’s surroundings.”
Last, and most certainly not least of our new club captains, is Jamie Kotz.
Jamie came to the Eagles as a young talent out of St. Edmunds college, carving up the U18s competition as an outside back, and has been a wonderful servant of the club ever since.
Affectionately known for his alter ego appearances on Eagles TV in 2015 as ‘Freddie the Fijian’ conducting player interviews that would send players running whenever his Salvo Store inspired dress or mock microphone (thong or Powerade bottle) came out.
Kotz has played 70 games for the Eagles (53 of which are in 1st Grade), which is a testament to his ability and commitment to rugby. He says the opportunity to lead comes with high expectations, but he’s excited to take it on.
“The Eagles have pretty much been my life for the last five years, so when Eoghan called to give me the news I was pretty stoked,
“My first year was a pretty big growth period for the Eagles, and now when we run out on a big game day it feels like we’re a pro club, and it’s pretty awesome to have seen and been a part of that”
When asked what his focus will be as a club captain, Kotzy simply says it’s a matter of building on what’s been done over the last few years.
“Our heritage round, family day, Christmas party and all of those great events, as well as post-match functions are something we’re pretty determined on keeping as staples in the calendar,
“Grierso, Wardy, Julia, Ben and Connor have been awesome club captains in the past and I think they’ve helped build the identity and brand that is thriving,”