Midfielder Dana Hooker has been crowned Fremantle’s inaugural female club champion at the 2017 AFL Women’s Fairest and Best, held on Thursday night at Ambrose Estate.
The 26-year-old polled 73 votes from the seven rounds, finishing just one point ahead of runner-up Kara Donnellan with Lara Filocamo in third with 56 votes.
Donnellan held a nine point lead going into the final round against Melbourne, a game she missed due to injury. In a thrilling finish, Hooker polled 10 votes against the Demons to secure the award.
Hooker can be called many things on top of her status as a Fremantle club champion.
She is one of the AFLW’s supermums, giving birth to her daughter Alice just three months before she was drafted to Fremantle.
On top of her parental duties, Hooker works as a paediatric occupational therapist while juggling her emerging AFLW career.
On the field, Hooker led Fremantle in many key statistical categories, including disposals, kicks and marks, and was second in inside 50s.
Senior coach Michelle Cowan and three members of Fremantle’s coaching staff awarded votes from zero to five per game for each player. A player can receive a maximum of 20 votes for an outstanding performance.
Cowan credited Hooker’s ability to perform week-in-week-out for her win on the night.
“It was one of the most consistent seasons from any player involved in AFLW,” Cowan said.
“She was a professional with her preparation, making sure she got the best out of every training session and every game.
“It’s been fantastic to see her get the balance right between a young working mum and her AFLW career.”
Cowan attributed Hooker’s success on her determination to be a part of the inaugural AFLW season.
“I remember our conversation prior to drafting her, and I could tell she was hungry for this,” Cowan said.
“She’s dreamt about this opportunity for a very long time.
“What I love the most about her winning this award is that she has grabbed her opportunity with both hands and made the most out of it.
“She’s been an outstanding leader for our club as a part of our leadership group, too.
“The other girls respect her highly and respect the way she goes about her footy on the field as well as her character off the field.”
Cowan also paid tribute to Kara Donnellan, who was an unlucky runner-up after missing the final round with an injury sustained in Fremantle’s round six win over Carlton at Domain Stadium.
Donnellan played through the pain of a quad injury with a game winning two goal, eight tackle and 24 disposal performance.
“Missing the final game has most likely cost her, but Kara’s had an incredible season,” Cowan said.
“She prides herself on winning the contested ball and had one of the best games I’ve seen anybody play in our win against Carlton.
“She got the full votes from me as it was one of the best performances we’ve seen.
“She’s a great person and a worthy second place.”
The Freo captain would not go without on the evening, honoured with the Players’ Award for setting and displaying the values set by the playing group at the start of the season.
Amy Lavell was named Fremantle’s Best Clubwoman. The award is voted on by the playing group and the various departments and recognises the player that consistently puts the needs of the team first.
THE TOP FIVE
- Dana Hooker – 73 votes
- Kara Donnellan – 72 votes
- Lara Filocamo – 56 votes
- Ebony Antonio – 53 votes
- Gabby O’Sullivan – 46 votes