Stars to shine at AFLW Awards night
AFLW 2.0 saw a new crop of players rise to the surface and put on some wonderful displays. Meanwhile the superstars of last year’s inaugural competition got straight down to business and had consistent performances throughout this year’s season. The AFLW Awards comprise of eight categories, with some categories having predetermined results, such as the AFL Women’s Premiers and AFL Women’s leading goalkicker award. Having watched every game of the year and attending plenty of them, we will give you the lowdown on who we think will take home some coveted awards tonight.
AFL Women’s Rising Star Award
This award will come down to a battle of the Calder Cannons, as Collingwood’s Chloe Molloy and Western Bulldogs’ Monique Conti seem to be the favourites.
Molloy was nominated for the award in round one, when she surprised us all and played in defence, after playing forward in her TAC Cup career. Molloy never looked back after round one, continuing to tear it up in defence for the Pies. She was able to get more than 15 disposals on three occasions during the season, displaying her ability to find the footy at all times.
Monique Conti was nominated for the Rising Star award in round four, alongside teammate, Aisling Utri. Conti was a prolific ball-user for the Dogs and was unmissable with her trademark orange mouthguard. The basketball star showed that she could kick it up a notch in pressure moments, and was rewarded for her efforts in the grand final, being named as the Player of the Match.
AFL Women’s Best and Fairest Trophy
There are plenty of worthy winners who could take away the trophy, but five stand out in particular.
Courtney Gum took home the AFLW Players’ MVP yesterday after a wonderful debut season for the Giants. Gum was able to prove that age does not matter, tearing it up in the midfield on multiple occasions. Gum racked up 15 disposals or more in seven out of nine matches, which is an incredible feat for a first-year player.
Emma Kearney won the AFL Coaches Association Player of the Year award recently, after a wonderful season in the red, white and blue. Kearney had the joint most kicks (65) and marks (20) for the season, showing her all-round skills with the ball in hand. The Bulldogs’ good form may be a contributor to her getting the nod at the AFLW Awards.
Chelsea Randall could not put a foot wrong all season for the Crows. She was an incredible on-field leader and displayed immense courage. The Adelaide co-captain went back with the flight of the ball many times and stood tall in defence on multiple occasions. Randall had the most rebound 50s of the season, with 18 of them, three ahead of Brisbane’s Kate Lutkins.
You cannot go past Melbourne’s Daisy Pearce when thinking of the AFLW Best and Fairest. Pearce was a fierce competitor all season and lead from the front in every game she played. The Melbourne captain dominated all the stats for the season, getting the most disposals (93), contested possessions (56) and clearances (26).
A smoky could be Fremantle’s Dana Hooker. Hooker is the reigning best and fairest at the club, and continued to play some damaging footy in 2018. She was nominated twice for the AFL Players’ AFLW Player of the Round on two occasions, one in which she tore Carlton a part in the last round of the season. Hooker was not only able to rack up the disposals throughout the season, but she even found herself in front of goal on many occasions and took some gutsy defensive grabs, highlighting her versatile style of football.
AFL Women’s All-Australian team
So many consistent performances across the season has meant that picking an All-Australian team would be an incredibly hard task for the selectors. Here is who we think will feature in the All-Australian team:
Defenders: Kate Lutkins has been a star for the Lions, and does her best work on the last line of defence. She was a ball magnet and managed to rack up the possessions on multiple occasions. Chloe Molloy could cameo as the Rising Star and an All-Australian defender, after a wonderful season in the back line. Molloy displayed solid hands throughout the season, and was a strong tackler, stopping her opposing forwards in their tracks.
Midfield: Emma Kearney could be an All-Australian midfielder and AFLW MVP by the end of the night. Kearney was a fierce competitor all season and racked up plenty of touches through the middle of the ground. Courtney Gum is also likely to get a spot in the midfield, after she tore it to shreds this season. She worked in tandem with Alicia Eva throughout the season to give the Giants a real chance at making the grand final.
Forwards: An obvious favourite is the competition’s leading goal-kicker, Brooke Lochland. Lochland’s seven-goal performance against the Blues propelled her into the lead and from then on, she continued to be a dangerous weapon inside 50. It would be very hard to look past Brisbane’s Sabrina Frederick-Traub, who took her contested marking inside 50 to another level this season. Her four-goal performance against the Giants almost single-handedly earned the Lions a grand final spot.
Interchange: While Emma Kearney edged out Ellie Blackburn stats-wise, Blackburn still had a wonderful season. The dangerous duo worked in tandem together to give the opposition headaches and Blackburn lead from the front on multiple occasions. It would be difficult to look past tackling machine, Ebony Marinoff, who broke the tackling record this year for a single match (AFL and AFLW), laying 21 of them. Marinoff was an aggressive competitor all season and always put her body on the line.
AFLW Mark of the Year
Tayla Harris’ round one goal-line mark, Phoebe McWilliams’ huge pack mark and Chelsea Randall’s courageous defensive mark all received nominations for the AFLW Mark of the Year. Although are three are spectacular marks, Randall’s mark stands out that little bit more.
Randall’s round six mark took place in the defensive 50, where the co-captain does her best work. She had her sights set firmly on the footy as it soared into her territory. Without blinking an eye, she went back with the flight of the ball and crashed into a pack of Fremantle forwards and a couple of Crows defenders. Her courage was on show and it was spectacular.
AFLW Goal of the Year
Steph Chiocci’s Darwin stunner, Aliesha Newman’s burst inside 50 and Erin Phillips’ boundary-line bender all received nominations for the AFLW Goal of the Year. It is hard to go past Newman’s running goal, which generated the most hype and reaction.
In this goal, Newman picks the ball up off the deck about 70 metres out from goal. She then tucks it under her arm and bursts away from Adelaide’s Talia Radan. She takes three bounces towards goal and her legs are moving so fast they almost look blurry. When she approaches the 35-metre mark, Newman ends her run along the boundary with a check-side goal off the outside of the boot!