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Tigers superstar Monique Conti caps brilliant season with AFLW best and fairest award

Richmond gun Monique Conti has stormed to her first AFLW best and fairest, winning the league’s highest honour with two rounds to spare.

AFLW best and fairest

Vote count

Monique Conti (Richmond) — 23
Ashleigh Riddell (North Melbourne) — 16
Amy McDonald (Geelong) — 16
Chloe Molloy (Sydney) — 16
Claudia Whitford (Gold Coast) — 16
Bonnie Toogood (Essendon) 15

Last year’s runner-up to Brisbane’s Ally Anderson, Conti polled 20 of a possible 24 votes across the first eight rounds to add the best and fairest to her fifth All-Australian selection.

The star midfielder, who juggles football with her basketball commitments with WNBL team Melbourne Boomers, put an exclamation mark on her win by earning a maximum three votes in round 10.

Conti, 23, won with 23 votes out of a possible 30.

When asked when she thought the award was hers, Conti said with a laugh: “[The] last round.”

“I don’t know. I just had a pretty good game last round,” she said.

“We had an amazing win. I was so happy to finish on that.

“I think leading into that [final vote count], it was like, ‘OK, this is actually real.’”

She finished seven votes ahead of Sydney’s Chloe Molloy, North Melbourne’s Ashleigh Riddell, Gold Coast’s Claudia Whitford and Geelong’s Amy McDonald.

Red-hot favourite and North Melbourne star Jasmine Garner finished equal-seventh on 14 votes, again polling far lower than expected.

Garner was the AFL coaches’ player of the year.

Conti averaged 28.5 disposals, 7.3 clearances, 418 metres gained, 5.8 tackles and 3.5 score involvements per game.

She was the league leader for clearances, fourth in the AFLW for disposals and fifth for metres gained.

There was another win for Richmond as Caitlin Greiser won the Goal of the Year award for her check-side effort against Collingwood in round 10.

Earlier, North Melbourne captain Emma Kearney became the only player to earn the AFLW honour in all eight seasons.

A former league best and fairest winner, Kearney was named on the half-back flank for the 2023 team ahead of North Melbourne’s debut grand final appearance against Brisbane on Sunday.

Kearney is the only AFLW player to have made every All-Australian team since the league started in 2017.

Garner was named in a sixth All-Australian team, as was Adelaide star Ebony Marinoff.

League-leading goal kicker and Melbourne skipper Kate Hore was named captain, with Essendon co-captain Bonnie Toogood vice-captain.

Hore shared the goal-kicking award with teammate Eden Zanker.

Brisbane’s Courtney Hodder, who will play in this weekend’s grand final against the Kangaroos, took the Mark of the Year for her fearless grab running back with the flight against Gold Coast in round seven.

Minor premiers Adelaide had four players selected, while North Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney had three apiece.

Zarlie Goldsworthy won the AFLW Rising Star award by a single vote from Sydney’s Ally Morphett.(AAP: Joel Carrett)

GWS young gun Zarlie Goldsworthy claimed the Rising Star award by a single vote, ahead of Sydney’s Ally Morphett.

West Coast’s Ella Roberts was third in the count.

Sydney tall Morphett earned All-Australian selection when Goldsworthy, who was in the extended squad, did not.

AAP/ABC

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Source: AFL NEWS ABC

    

Author: Russell White