Jobe Watson appointed to lead Bombers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Jobe Watson appointed to lead Bombers

By Guy Hand 21/12/2009 05:23:32 PM Comments (0)

Jobe Watson's first test as Essendon skipper was keeping quiet, and not telling his father Tim he'd be following in his footsteps and captaining the AFL club.

He passed.

Like everyone else outside the club's leadership group and senior officials, Watson senior found out only after his son led the Bombers out for training in front of several thousand fans at Windy Hill on Monday.

Watson junior had known for a week that his peers had voted him to lead the club into 2010.

But he had been told to keep the news "in the vault", as Essendon officials put it.

"No one in the family, I haven't been able to tell anyone. Mum and Dad are down at the farm (in regional Victoria) at the moment so I might have to give them a call," Watson said.

At a sentimental time of year, the Bombers' news could not have been better timed.

The 24-year-old onballer now emulates his much-revered father - a three-time premiership player - in captaining the club.

The younger Watson had long been touted as captaincy material but has also had to endure much criticism and scrutiny of his game - particularly his kicking - since his AFL debut in 2003.

A breakthrough year in 2009 in which he won the club's best and fairest thanks to his ability to attract the hard ball as well as any player in the competition has gone a long way to silencing the doubters.

The fact Watson has worked so hard to improve his game was noted as an important factor in why he won the captaincy, according to Essendon football manager Paul Hamilton.

"Jobe has the leadership qualities we've talked about. He sets high standards, he has a real hunger and he's driven for success," Hamilton said.

Watson admitted when the captaincy issue was first raised 12 months ago, he believed he might not be the right person to lead the club.

But a vote of confidence in Watson's ability from the Bombers' senior players, as well as some honest advice from his father as to where he could improve, convinced him he could do the job.

"At the end of last year, dad asked me if I thought I was ready and I said `I wasn't sure'," Watson said.

"He gave me his advice on where he thought I needed to improve.

"The best indication is what your peer group say about you and the other guys thought I was ready for the role.

"To have that confidence in me made it a clearer picture for me."

Midfielder Andrew Welsh was named Watson's deputy, and the new skipper promised to be pro-active in helping the club improve on their brief 2009 finals appearance.

"That's what I think a captain's role is - trying to get the best out of his players," Watson said.

"I'd like to think I can try to help guys around me as much as I can. We've got such a talented young group."

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