Essendon coach John Worsfold has already decided on the AFL club’s captain for the 2016 season, and agrees Brendon Goddard is the obvious choice.
Goddard, 30, is untarnished by the anti-doping bans that have ravaged the club of its most experienced and talented players, including captain Jobe Watson and deputy Dyson Heppell.
But Worsfold is yet to announce his choice to lead the Bombers this season as he seeks to create a competitive team for the campaign ahead.
Five of Essendon’s seven-member 2015 leadership group have been scrubbed for the season ahead; indicative of how deep the blows have cut the AFL powerhouse.
On Thursday morning, Worsfold said he was moving quickly to fill the leadership vacuum.
“The players have said they see (Goddard) as one of the top leaders within the group,” he said.
“It appears to be an obvious choice … I can see why people would say it is an obvious choice.
“There is some process we have to follow but that won’t be far away.”
Given the extraordinary context in which the Dons are selecting their on-field leader, it’s understood the process involves sign-off from key parties; the board and sponsors.
Goddard was an extraordinary addition to the Bombers’ playing list in 2013, a two-time All Australian bringing three grand finals and 205 games worth of AFL experience.
He won the club’s best and fairest medal in his first year with Essendon but has not replicated that form since.
In 2015, Goddard polled Brownlow votes in just one match; a round eight doddle against Brisbane.
After the Bombers’ season-worst loss to St Kilda in round 14, Goddard said he “let the scoreboard and the circumstance dictate my effort”.
The former Saint also divides opinion among his team mates.
Paul Chapman, who like Goddard found a second AFL home at Essendon, said in his autobiography `Chappy’ that Goddard was usually a “very good leader” but could leave others cold.
“In meetings during the week, he delivered good messages but was very abrupt,” he wrote.
“Not everyone likes that tactic, but more importantly, not everyone responds to it.”
Chapman said he saw Goddard “cracking under pressure” during a heavy loss to Geelong last year which had opponents “looking at him in disbelief”.
Goddard has spoken of a personality clash with ex-Bomber Jake Carlisle who was traded to his former home of St Kilda at the end of last season.
In November last year, he told Channel Seven he was aware of his blunt personality.
“I can be pretty demanding at times, I don’t really apologise for that,” he said.
“I think successful teams need that and that’s what great teams are made of.”