home AFLW, Aussie Rules, Women in Sport Media Siren’s favourite AFLW moments and performances of 2020

Siren’s favourite AFLW moments and performances of 2020

The AFLW season may be unceremoniously over, but that doesn’t negate some of the outstanding individual and team efforts. Siren co-founders Alison Smirnoff, Kirby Fenwick, Kasey Symons and Gemma Bastiani took a look back at the season and shared their vote for the 2020 best and fairest, best first year player, most improved player, who they thought would win the flag, their favourite moment and best game.

Alison

Best & Fairest

I’d have to say Jasmine Garner. She had a huge impact in every game she played this season. Averaged an impressive 20.1 disposals per match and just over a goal a game, as a midfielder no less!

Not sure if this is allowed, but Karen Paxman is my smokey. Had another outstanding season in Melbourne’s midfield and she always polls well.

First year player

Because I know that Gemma will choose Roxy Roux, I’m going to go with Georgia Patrikios. She slotted into the St Kilda midfield like she’s been there for a decade.

Most improved player

This year Alyce Parker went from rising star to genuine superstar. With the move of Dal Pos to the backline and Eva missing a few games through injury, Parker took the mantle of number one midfielder and ran with it. She won the ball on the inside and did damage with it on the outside. It is frightening to think that she’s only 19!

Who would have won the flag?

I want to say Melbourne, but I think in reality you can’t go past Fremantle. They were undefeated all season and virtually unbeatable on their home turf. They have a great mix of experience (the Antonios, Bowers & Miller etc) plus some really exciting youngsters with the likes of Roux and Duffy. They also saw massive improvement in players such as Houghton, Grieve and O’Sullivan. I think they would’ve got the job done.

Favourite moment

Lily Mithen’s clutch goal in the elimination Semi Final against the GWS Giants. Epic.

Best game

The GWS v Melbourne Semi Final. I don’t think you can go past the drama of a come-from-behind victory in a knockout final. One of the most exciting football games I’ve ever seen.


Related—AFLW Season Wrap: Conference A

Kirby

Best & Fairest

Hard to go past Jasmine Garner

First year player

Georgia Patrikios for mine. 

Most improved player

I feel like so many players are improving every year for the simple reason that they’re playing more and at a higher level and they have access to elite coaching and support stuff that encourage development. That said, it’s kind of hard to go past Sharni Layton (sorry Gemma!). It’s actually been incredibly interesting to watch her development and while she may have had a head start having played netball in an elite environment that development has been impressive nonetheless. 

Who would have won the flag?

Tough one! It’s hard to know because, as everyone in footy knows, finals are a different ball game. But my romantic little heart says Fremantle. Not only because they were pretty impressive all season, not dropping a game, but also because what a great story it would have been after the disastrous end to their 2019 season. 

Favourite moment

There are always so many moments in every AFLW season that jostle to be my favourite one. There’s that first time I go to Whitten Oval every season. There’s the joy of talking to the fans in the crowd every week and hearing their stories. There’s watching new teams run out for the first time (and watching my friends see their teams for the first time, yes Kasey I’m talking about you!). There’s seeing young players shine and old(ish) ones too. There’s so many impressive things happening on the field: seemingly impossible goals, remarkable marks, feats of strength and smarts that leave you shaking your head in wonder. It’s really very difficult for me to pick just one. So I’m not going to. 

Best game

The Western Bulldogs v Fremantle. I watched this game from the kitchen table, because by this stage of the season, fans had—rightly—been locked out of grounds. But even watching from home on my laptop screen with no crowd noise and with the hill at Footscray bare, this was one of the best games I saw all season. I even thought for a little while that my Bulldogs might snatch victory from the impressive Dockers. But while that wasn’t to be, the two teams played an entertaining and skillful match that demonstrates exactly where women’s football is headed. 


Kasey

Best & Fairest

Jasmine Garner.

First year player

Georgia Patrikios

Most improved player

Unlike the cool and collected Gemma, I am going with the ‘obvious example’ 😉 with Collingwood’s Sharni Layton. I was skeptical about her being able to adapt to the game at her stage in her career and body type. But after a full AFLW and VFLW season, and her sheer determination – she’s silenced the doubters. She was an absolute pleasure to watch this season, and seeing her kick her first goal was so joyful.

Who would have won the flag?

It pains me to say, my West Coast Eagles loving heart is having trouble forming the words, but I think this year belonged to Fremantle. Absolute tenacity and class, their game plan was clear and efficient and brought the best of their start talent. It was hard to pretend not to be super impressed watching them destroy my Eagles in the inaugural AFLW Derby…

Favourite moment

Despite the aforementioned defeat, I was so grateful to be able travel to Perth in round 2 to be at Optus Stadium for the inaugural AFLW Derby. The crowd was amazing, it was history in the making and to be there, in all my Eagles gear, watching women running out onto the ground in my club colours for the first time, is a moment I’ll cherish forever.

Best game

The Melbourne v GWS elimination Semi Final. Edge of your seat, come from behind, underdog narrative all epic finals matches should have. I want to see a film made of that game.


Related—AFLW Season Wrap: Conference B

Gemma

Best & Fairest

Jasmine Garner: she impacted games like few others could, and her improvement from 2019 to 2020 was one of the biggest statistical leaps in AFLW history.

First year player

It’s hard to go past Roxy Roux. Her confidence at aerial contests makes her standout, and her vertical leap means she’s damaging right across the ground, including in the ruck.

Most improved player

Avoiding the more obvious examples (Sharni Layton, Jasmine Garner, Isabel Huntington), Katie-Jayne Grieve really changed her game this year. Some injuries at Fremantle created an opportunity for her on the ball and she really took advantage of it, laying 51 tackles—second most in the competition—and more than doubling her average disposals.

Who would have won the flag?

Despite the strength of North Melbourne, Carlton and Melbourne, it’s hard to go past the undefeated Fremantle. Their resilience to withstand pressure and ability to grind out games even when they’re behind has me picking them.

Favourite moment

There are far too many, but I have to choose Lily Mithen’s mark and goal to hand Melbourne their semi final win. Her second goal in AFLW ever, the contested mark that created the shot on goal, the pressure of the moment, so much to like.

Best game

Round Three: the drawn inaugural Q-Clash. Most people came into this game with the expansion Suns all but written off, but the way this game swung across each half and Kalinda Howarth’s performance presenting herself for the competition makes this one a real standout.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *