NFC Senior Men

Kennerley to Captain Norwood in 2024

Norwood has announced its SANFL captain, with 2023 co-captain Jacob Kennerley continuing as the sole skipper in 2024. 

Kennerley was elevated to the co-captaincy position alongside Matthew Nunn after Round 3 last season, but will head into the 2024 campaign as sole captain for the first time.

The 23-year-old Kennerley – who has now played 56 SANFL matches – said he was ready to step up into the role, following Nunn’s retirement announcement this September.

“It’s an honour to take on the role of captain at such a historic and proud club,” Kennerley said.

“It’s nice to establish the position and announce it early in the pre-season. I am super happy and grateful to be in the position – we have a really good, young group, there’s lots of fresh faces around which is good.”

Kennerley also stepped up to captain the side throughout the 2022 season when Nunn missed several matches through injury.

“Those experiences to lead the team were a great opportunity,” Kennerley said.

“Being vice captain in 2022 and jumping in when Nunny was injured, that was a massive learning experience for me and something that drove me forward as a player and a person.

“That led into 2023 where I was able to feel really comfortable coming into the co-captaincy role to support Nunny.

“We worked well together, and that’s provided me with great experience and I am looking forward to continuing that.”

Norwood Coach Jade Rawlings said Kennerley was the perfect candidate to lead the club into 2024.

“Jacob has demonstrated consistency in his gameday performance, training habits and off field growth over the last three seasons,” Rawlings said.

“He has been an excellent support for Matt Nunn in his time as our captain.

“JK is respected by players, coaches, staff and board members. He cares deeply about the club and is driven to help the club thrive in the future.

“I love him for his competitiveness, team first mindset, care for others, love for his family and his humility.

“The captaincy at Norwood is a coveted position, and Jacob accepts the responsibility that comes with the title of being Norwood FC captain.”

Nunn took over the Norwood captaincy at a similar age and point of his career.

“I saw Nunny thrive as a person and really mature to lead a group of 60-plus boys, so there’s lots of learnings I can take from that,” Kennerley said.

“He didn’t change himself off the field and was someone that everyone could get along with – I hope I can carry that through.

“I try to lead by example on and off the field, and be approachable. I have a bit of experience under my belt in a few different club systems and I hope to put it all out there on the field, and the boys can jump in behind me.”

With the likes of senior players in Nunn, Nik Rokahr and Mitch Wilkins departing the club, Kennerley said he’d already noticed new leaders stepping up their influence throughout pre-season.

“I have seen Pierce Seymour, Tom Donnelly, Matt Ling and Cory Stockdale jump up and show they can be that next wave of leaders, and Harry Boyd and Jack Heard are also taking it to that next level,” he said.

“Dec Hamilton and Matt Panos, it’s helpful having them around as well – Panos is someone I have looked up to since I was a junior at Norwood, he has a wealth of knowledge, and is a great person and player to have around us younger boys.

“We are four weeks into pre-season and the boys are running really well, we came back fit and ready to go in pre-season which is a great sign.”

Kennerley grew up in the town of Cummins on the Eyre Peninsula, playing for the Cummins Rambler Football Club.

He boarded at Rostrevor College and played U16 and U18 football at Norwood, before being drafted to Geelong with Pick 50 in the 2018 AFL Draft. He returned to Norwood in 2021.

“I have been a huge supporter of Norwood since the Eyre Peninsula was aligned to the club (as its regional zone),” Kennerley said.

“The club has helped me to get to where I am, get drafted and most importantly help me be the person and player I am now. I am very thankful for that and I want to keep giving back to the club.

“I see the fans come through every week and see how passionate they are, I have that same passion and want to keep building on the stories and history at this club.”

During his two seasons at Geelong, Kennerley worked under one of the great captains in AFL history, Joel Selwood whose record includes 355 games, four AFL Premierships and an AFL record 245 games as captain.

“Joel was someone that everyone got along with, and someone that the boys would go out on the field and play for,” Kennerley said.

“He’d set the example and wasn’t afraid to let you know if you did something wrong, but also got around you when you did something right.

“It’s a time (at Geelong) I look back on as an awesome experience, one that I have learnt off and I am keen to carry it through in the Norwood system.”

Norwood Football Club CEO James Fantasia also congratulated Kennerley on his appointment

“This prestigious honor has been bestowed upon many outstanding individuals in the history of our club,” Fantasia said.

“Witnessing Jacob’s leadership since becoming joint captain has been commendable, and now, as he takes on the role individually, it marks a significant achievement. We eagerly anticipate watching Jacob fulfill this role with dedication and excellence.”

By Josh Teakle, Norwood FC

Watch the full interview here