THE Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s Best and Fairest took place on Monday night and recognised the standout players from a successful inaugural season. We recap the main award winners, as well as the VFLW Team of the Year.
Williamstown midfielder, Jess Duffin has become the first league best and fairest winner to come from a team that did not make the finals. Her Seagulls finished eleventh with a record of four wins and 10 losses.
The former Collingwood AFL Women’s player polled 23 votes, which was six ahead of Darebin ruck, Lauren Pearce. NT Thunder captain, Angela Foley came third with 16 votes while Carlton forward, Darcy Vescio and Hawks captain, Emma Mackie rounded out the top five with 15 votes a piece.
Duffin ranked first in the VFLW this year for total disposals, uncontested possessions, marks and rebounds. She was also ranked third for contested possessions and inside 50s, while also kicking 13 goals from her 13 matches.
The North Melbourne AFL Women’s recruit held the lead (either outright or shared) from Round 6 to Round 12. After falling behind Angela Foley in Round 12, the Melbourne Renegades cricketer finished strong with three consecutive best-on-ground performances to win the Best and Fairest with one round to go.
Duffin polled in 12 of her 13 matches this season with five three-vote performances, one two-vote and six one-vote efforts.
Rohenna Young Medal/ Choose Tap leading goalkicker
Carlton forward, Darcy Vescio capped off her stellar season inside 50, receiving the Rohenna Young Medal.
Vescio kicked 26 goals from nine games, averaging 2.89 goals per game. This was highlighted by a nine-goal performance against Essendon in Round 16.
Vescio finished seven goals ahead of Darebin’s Hannah Mouncey (19 goals from 12 games), and 11 goals ahead of NT’s Jessica Sedunary (15 goals from 11 games), who finished third. The Carlton forward won the AFL Women’s inaugural leading goal kicker award in 2017, kicking 14 goals, and has now backed it up with the VFLW leading goalkicker award.
Debbie Lee Medal/ VFLW Rising Star
Hawthorn defender, Jayde Van Dyk capped off a remarkable year in the brown and gold with an individual accolade to reward her for her efforts.
Van Dyk averaged 15 disposals this year and was named in the best in 11 of her 15 games. She was also named in the VFLW Team of the Year in the back pocket.
Van Dyk now has a an opportunity to become a premiership player after the Hawks defeated the Pies on Saturday to win through to the decider.
VFLW Coach of the Year
Collingwood VFLW coach, Penny Cula-Reid has won the VFLW Coach of the Year award after taking her side to a minor premiership.
In her first year of coaching, she took the Pies to a near-perfect season tally, with 12 wins, one loss and one draw. Cula-Reid formerly played for Collingwood in the AFL Women’s competition and represented the St Kilda Sharks in the Victorian Women’s Football League (VWFL).
VFLW Team of the Year
B: Jayde Van Dyk (Hawthorn), Bec Goring (Geelong), Kate Gillespie-Jones (Melbourne Uni)
HB: Ashleigh Riddell (Melbourne Uni), Meghan McDonald (Darebin), Bianca Jakobsson (Casey)
C: Alison Drennan (Southern Saints), Jess Duffin (Williamstown), Rebecca Beeson (Hawthorn)
HF: Sarah D’Arcy (Collingwood), Jasmine Garner (Williamstown), Jessica Sedunary (NT)
FF: Hayley Bullas (Essendon), Darcy Vescio (Carlton), Mia-Rae Clifford (Geelong)
F: Rhiannon Watt (Southern Saints), Richelle Cranston (Geelong), Angela Foley (NT)
I/C: Emma Swanson (NT), Sophie Alexander (Collingwood), Alice Edmonds (Richmond), Libby Birch (Western Bulldogs), Lauren Pearce (Darebin), Emma Mackie (Hawthorn)
Hawthorn and Geelong lead the way in the VFLW Team of the Year with three representatives a piece.
Hawks skipper, Emma Mackie and Greater Western Sydney’s (GWS) Rebecca Beeson made their way into the sides after stellar years in the midfield.
Geelong’s had stars across the field in the Team of the Year, with Bec Goring leading the way down back, Richelle Cranston being selected in the midfield and Mia-Rae Clifford being named in the forward line.
Melbourne University, Darebin, Southern Saints, NT Thunder, Williamstown and Collingwood each had two members in the Team of the Year.
North Melbourne AFL Women’s duo, Ashleigh Riddell and Kate Gillespie-Jones were both selected in the back line for the Mugars and were joined by Darebin’s Meghan McDonald. Runner-up Best and Fairest, Lauren Pearce made her way onto the interchange best for the Falcons.
She was joined by NT’s Emma Swanson, who averaged 19 disposals in her 11 matches. Swanson’s Thunder teammate, Jessica Sedunary made her way into the forward line after kicking 15 goals from 11 games this season.
The Southern Saints had two members in the midfield with Rhiannon Watt getting the main ruck spot while Alison Drennan took up a position on the wing.
As expected, Jess Duffin got a spot in the middle for the Seagulls while Jasmine Garner was named at centre-half forward.
For the minor premiers, it was Sarah D’Arcy and Sophie Alexander who led the way, with D’Arcy getting a spot on the half-forward flank while Alexander was named on the bench.
Darcy Vescio, Hayley Bullas (Essendon), Libby Birch (Western Bulldogs), Bianca Jakobsson (Casey) and Alice Edmonds (Richmond) were the sole representatives for their sides in the Team of the Year.