Fremantle will crown the winner of their 2019 AFLW Fairest and Best on Friday night in a glittering occasion at Crown Ballroom.
The awarding of Fremantle’s AFLW club champion highlights the evening, with the Players’ Award, Best First Year Player Award and Best Clubwoman Award rounding out the night.
The Players’ Award is voted on by the playing group and recognises the player who best represented the values set out by the group at the start of the season.
The Best Clubwoman is voted on by the playing group and various club departments to recognise the player that consistently puts the needs of the team first.
The Best First Year Player Award will be awarded to the highest ranked first-year player aged 25 and under in the Fairest and Best voting.
Voting for the Fairest and Best Award takes place throughout the season, with four coaches allocating between zero and five votes for each player.
After an outstanding season where Fremantle qualified for their first finals series, there are a number of players in the running for the award.
The winner of the 2018 Fairest and Best, Antonio put forward another outstanding season. Primarily a defender in the opening two seasons, Antonio was utilised as a versatile forward/defender in 2019, switching roles depending on where she was needed most. This versatility and ability to play a number of roles for the team will likely see Antonio earn votes from the coaching group. Despite switching between forward and defence, Antonio kicked five goals in 2019, the fifth-most for Freo and also ranked in the top-five for disposals, contested possessions, marks, contested marks, score involvements, hitouts and inside 50s. She also ranked equal first for intercept possessions, alongside Kiara Bowers, with 32.
As a five-time winner of the WAWFL Fairest and Best, Kiara Bowers is no stranger to off-season awards. If Bowers had an excellent start to the season, her finish to the year was without parallel with starring roles in Freo’s wins in rounds five, six and seven. She set an AFLW record with 89 tackles for the season and also led Fremantle for disposals, clearances, metres gained and ranking points.
Dana Hooker backed up her 2017 Fairest and Best win with a runner-up finish in 2018. The midfielder is set for another big finish in 2019 after yet another excellent season. Her season was highlighted by a game-winning effort in Fremantle’s first victory against Brisbane, collecting 24 disposals and an AFLW record five centre clearances. Hooker led Fremantle for contested possessions again in 2019 and ranked in the top two for disposals, metres gained, clearances, tackles and ranking points.
Gemma Houghton had an incredible turnaround of form in her third season of the AFLW, leading Fremantle in a number of statistical categories, including goals, score involvements, marks and contested marks.
Her high-flying marking ability was always a highlight and she consistently hit the scoreboard. A former basketballer, Houghton was first introduced to football when she joined the club in 2017 and now, it’s safe to say she has quickly grown into one of the best forwards in the game.