The AFLW's best-and-fairest winner will head a leadership group of five, with Tasmanian Britt Gibson named as vice-captain, Jess Duffin deputy-vice, and Emma King and Kaitlyn Ashmore rounding out the unit.

“When I was told that I would be the first captain, I just had a huge smile on my face,"  Kearney told North Media.

“I’m so honoured and proud, and I just have that feeling of overwhelming excitement and happiness. It’s fantastic to know we’ve got great leaders around us, and they all bring different attributes.

“We’re all quite different, but not just in the leadership group, we’ve got a great group of girls that will be up-and-coming leaders themselves. We’ll look to try and empower them, and hopefully they can lead at some stage too.

Kearney says Gibson's leadership role will be vital with her link to Tasmania. 

"She’s originally from Tasmania and will bring a lot of passion to the team, and it will be good to have a Tassie girl to provide that leadership for the girls based down there,” Kearney said.

The excitement of being a part of the club’s first AFLW leadership group not lost on Gibson either.

“It’s a dream come true,” she said.

“It’s one thing to play AFLW, another to get to play for the team you barrack for, but then getting to be vice-captain … I’m just so excited to pull on the royal blue and white and get to work.”

VFLW Lambert-Pearce medallist, Duffin, also ready to impart her knowledge and experience on the group.  

“My leadership style is straight down the line, I’m quite honest and I think everyone knows that … I’m excited to work with the group and getting to the spot that we need to be,” Duffin said.

“I was shocked when I got the call about being deputy vice-captain, and I am stoked.”

King will bring her experience in Collingwood’s AFLW leadership group to the Arden St.

“I’m excited to be a part of the North group,” King said.

“I think my skills will be focusing on making sure the whole group feels like they’re welcome and a part of the club, and making sure we’re a really tight knit group.”

With pre-season starting in a little over two weeks, Kaitlyn Ashmore was eager to jump in.

“We’ve got a great group in the leadership team, but also in the broader team," she said.

"I think all of the girls can be leaders, and I think we’ll all come together and really hit the ground running.”