A player leadership vote held recently at a camp near the country Victorian town of Healesville will go a long way to deciding if Jobe Watson continues as Essendon captain.
New coach John Worsfold put his players through an intensive leadership camp this week, with the results of a player survey to be taken into account – along with feedback from the match committee and the AFL club’s executive – in deciding if Watson will continue in the role.
Worsfold is yet to speak to Watson specifically about the captaincy and also wants to be certain the veteran midfielder still has the desire and drive to do the job.
“That’s the critical part – he has to have the passion and the energy to take on the role,” Worsfold said from Healesville on Wednesday.
“We know he’s good enough and he’s got the skills to do it but there are extra demands on leaders of footy teams and he has to be prepared that he’s up for that again.”
Worsfold stressed that the leadership survey wasn’t a strict vote on the captaincy alone and that Watson wasn’t running for re-election to the role.
“I’m really keen to see what the players say,” he said.
“This is not a captaincy vote – this is about leadership.
“I’m going to be heavily weighted on what the group identify, get a feel for how Jobe’s feeling then talk to the footy executive.”
Watson and Dyson Heppell are the clear cut candidates for the role but it would be a stunning turn of events if Watson was tipped out of the job by his teammates given the strength of his leadership throughout the prolonged supplements saga.
From what he’s seen and heard since taking on the job in October, Worsfold doesn’t expect there to be any dramatic changes to the leadership structure at the club.
Watson is still not participating in contact drills following the shoulder surgery that brought a premature end to his season but is progressing well through a running program.
Worsfold said that he remained unsure when the WADA appeal hanging over some of his players would finish but added that he hoped it would be resolved no later than January.