GLENELG ball magnet Jessica Bates has been crowned the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s League Best and Fairest for 2022. The consistent midfielder averaged 25.3 disposals, 3,0 marks, 10.6 tackles, 5.3 clearances, 3.8 inside 50s and 3.0 rebound 50s per game to lead the league in kicks, disposals, tackles and clearances.
The brilliant Bays star was also named in Team of the Year and polled a massive 86 votes to win the Coaches Award as well in what was a successful year. Bates finished ahead of Central District’s Shelby Smith and North Adelaide’s Jessica Edwards, who went toe-for-toe in the final four rounds.
All three could have won heading into the last round, with Bates on 21 votes, Edwards on 19 and Smith on 18. After Smith polled two votes to fall short, Edwards did not poll against the Bays and Bates had the one vote to settle on 22 overall, two clear of Smith and three clear of Edwards.
It was a feat of going one-better for Bates who finished equal-runner up last year behind West Adelaide’s Lauren Young. For Smith however, it was another case of so close, yet so far, finishing second in back-to-back seasons.
Edwards’ North Adelaide teammate Hannah Ewings (14 votes) and South Adelaide’s Nicole Campbell (13) rounded out the top five, with a trio of Sturt players in Alisha Gepp, Isobel Kuiper and Georgia Bevan not far behind.
Earlier in the night, Woodville-West Torrens young gun Shineah Goody won the Breakthrough Player of the Year Award to add to her trophy cabinet of AFLW Under 18s MVP and All-Australian. Norwood had a couple of award winners with Alana Lishmund slotting 18 goals to take out the Leading Goalkicker award, while captain Alison Ferrall earned the Leadership Award.
The 2022 SANFLW Team of the Year was also announced with Bays’ skipper Ellie Kellock named captain and West Adelaide leader Madison Russell the vice-captain. The full SANFLW Team of the Year and all the award winners are below.
SANFLW BEST AND FAIREST FINAL LEADERBOARD:
1 – Jessica Bates (Glenelg) 22 votes
2 – Shelby Smith (Central District) 20 votes
3 – Jess Edwards (North Adelaide) 19 votes
4 – Hannah Ewings (North Adelaide) 14 votes
5 – Nicole Campbell (South Adelaide) 13 votes
Breakthrough Player – Shineah Goody (WWT Eagles)
Leading Goalkicker – Alana Lishmund (Norwood)
Coaches Award – Jess Bates (Glenelg)
Leadership Award – Alison Ferrall (Norwood)
2022 SANFLW TEAM OF THE YEAR:
B: Kiera Mueller (Sturt) – Madi Russell (West Adelaide) (vc)
HB: Sarah Goodwin (Glenelg) – Amelie Borg (North Adelaide) – Ellie Kellock (Glenelg) (c)
C: Shineah Goody (WWT Eagles) – Jess Bates (Glenelg) – Nicole Campbell (South Adelaide)
HF: Jess Waterhouse (South Adelaide) – McKenzie Dowrick (WWT Eagles) – Georgia Bevan (Sturt)
F: Hannah Ewings (NA) – Alana Lishmund (NW)
R: Isabelle Starmer (Central District) – Jess Edwards (North Adelaide) – Shelby Smith (Central District)
INT: Isabel Kuiper (Sturt) – Katelyn Pope (North Adelaide) – Jade Halfpenny (Norwood) – Sachi Syme (Norwood) – Keeley Kustermann (West Adelaide)
Coach: Michael O’Connor (Sturt)