Western Force foundation member Pek Cowan will lead the side in their opening Super Rugby clash against the Rebels tomorrow.
The 60-cap veteran prop was handed the captain's job because Matt Hodgson is still recovering from a hamstring strain.
Coach Michael Foley spoke with Cowan in the pre-season about shouldering the responsibility if Hodgson was absent.
He told the Wallabies front-rower that he had earned the captaincy through respect.
"It's really good to know I've got their respect and that's a big thing, knowing I've been selected on merit and not just necessarily because I've been here a long time," he said.
"Knowing I've got the support of the coaching staff and the players is more than enough for me to give me confidence.
"Not much is going to change for me personally. I'm just really lucky that I've got guys that I can call upon in regards to the strategies and the way we want to play.
"My role won't change. It will just be a matter of making the right decisions."
Cowan said the battle up front would be all important.
"It's definitely going to start in the forwards," he said.
"That's been our main focus, to try and get over their forwards, try and individualise some of their backs and reduce some of their options.
"We're going to have to play smart for the first 20 minutes. That's a big focus for us."
Western Force v Melbourne Rebels
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Friday, 15 February
Kick-off: 4.40pm (WA time)
1. Pek Cowan (c)
2. Nathan Charles
3. Tetera Faulkner
4. Sam Wykes
5. Toby Lynn
6. Angus Cottrell
7. Chris Alcock*
8. Ben McCalman
9. Alby Mathewson*
10. Sam Christie**
11. Alfie Mafi
12. Kyle Godwin
13. Winston Stanley
14. Patrick Dellit
15. Will Tupou
16. Heath Tessmann*
17. Kieran Longbottom
18. Phoenix Battye
19. Richard Brown
20. Mick Snowden**
21. Sias Ebersohn*
22. Junior Rasolea**
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