2022 Leadership Group

Bombers lock in leaders in streamlined three-man group

Essendon has confirmed its three-man leadership group for 2022

By Callum Twomey - 1 hr ago

ESSENDON has appointed Zach Merrett vice-captain and Andrew McGrath deputy vice-captain in a formal recognition of their leadership roles.

The Bombers on Tuesday announced their three-man leadership group, with skipper Dyson Heppell to captain the side for the sixth straight year.

He will be supported by Merrett and McGrath , while Michael Hurley , who was in the four-man leadership group last year, has dropped out as he focuses on his return from his hip injury.

Merrett has captained the Bombers in the past and last year returned to the leadership group, won the club’s best and fairest for the third time, was named an All-Australian midfielder and signed a six-year contract extension.

Dyson Heppell and Zach Merrett lead the Essendon players out for round 23, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

McGrath has been tipped as a future leader of the Bombers since the club chose him as their first ever No.1 draft pick in 2016.

He was elevated to the leadership group for the first time last season but had an injury-hit campaign, although the Bombers are confident he has returned to his vibrant best over the pre-season.

Heppell took over the captaincy in 2017 from former Bombers captain Jobe Watson.

Who is our next captain?
  • Merrett
  • McGrath
  • Other

0 voters

What are all the Blitzers going to complain about now?


We kicked Hooker and Hurley out of the leadership group again?! Clubs ■■■■■■.

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Fejo should have been in the leadership group.


Not a lot to say… love the slimmed down leadership group… don’t need a title to be a leader… and large leadership groups seem to create a culture of us vs them…

If I had to look at leadership at the Club, I think Heppell is still the logical choice. I think Merrett is clearly our best player and hardest trainer and therefore next logical choice for captain - albeit I think he was initially reluctant to take the role. So another season as understudy seems ideal. McGrath has been touted as captain material since Day 1 so makes sense.

I’d love to see another ‘peaceful’ transition of Captaincy next year so that Merrett has his first year as stand alone captain with Heppell still on the field to assist etc. We have been able to do that for over 30 years and I think it is a nice touch.

Again I’m just struck with how many things happen at the club, get announced or whatever… and I’m like… yep good sensible thing. My lack of outrage concerns me. 14 months ago I posted that I had fallen out of love with the club… it really was a low point… but couldn’t be further from that now. Just feels like we have got our mojo back.


Good call on the 3

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Would have preferd just a captain but i like it having only 3 leaders

Just a captain? So no VC at all.

You’d prefer we just play without one when Hep isn’t playing?

Interesting take.


Heppell is miles ahead of both Merrett and McGrath in terms of leadership material.

Not sure what it is but the other two are elite. Heppell seems to breath captaincy though.

Wouldn’t surprise me if it’s a different player after Hepp retires. Not sure who.

I don’t think Merret and McGrath need a title

if Hep goes down we just elevate one of Merret or McGrath

Merret is next in line 100% vice captain for a reason

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I’m confused, did the article get updated or did you just miss the part where it says Merrett is VC?

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Tight group, like the reduced number of leadership group.

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It was a response to Nino’s comment immediately above.


Don’t worry, I’m sure I can come up with something

Who’s if?

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I heard somewhere that Hobbs is next in line after Heppell

Lol poster Bidzy?

Great decision