Collingwood’s Brianna Davey and Fremantle’s Kiara Bowers have shared the AFLW’s highest honour as they were crowd the best and fairest winners.
Incredibly, Bowers only won the award after claiming a single point in the final round to tie with Davey.
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She was only able to play after she had a one match ban overturned for a dangerous tackle to play in the final round of the competition.
The count was close throughout with the winners claiming 15 votes, ahead of Bulldogs’ Ellie Blackburn and Giants’ Alyce Parker on 14 and Melbourne’s Karen Paxman on 13 votes.
Bowers said she was “feeling pretty good right now”.
“I feel honoured to wear this (the best and fairest medal) but I’d give it away in a heartbeat to give every single one of my teammates a medal around their neck and hopefully in the near future we’ll have one,” she said.
“I’m in utter shock at the moment. I know that I’m never going to take a big screamer or kick a big goal from outside 50, but what I can put in everyday is hard work.”
Ask what her younger self would say about winning the medal, Bower said “you’re still a horrible speaker”.
Davey said she was “overwhelmed” as the vote went right down to the wire.
“It’s an honour and obviously it went right down to the wire which I thought it would,” she said. “I didn’t even think I’d be up there in all honest. But I’m just overwhelmed which is my main emotion at the moment.”
Davey said played Auskick as youngster and was told there wasn’t a place for her in the sport, switching to soccer, where she played for the Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City as a goalkeeper, as well as representing Australia 17 times before the AFLW allowed her to come back into the sport.
Bowers also hoped she could inspire the next generation of women to “do what you love”.
It was a huge night for the winning pair with Davey also named the All-Australian captain, with Bowers the vice-captain.
In the other awards, Melbourne’s Tyla Hanks was named the league’s Rising Star, while Adelaide’s Danielle Ponter was named the Mark of the Year.
Brisbane’s Courtney Hodder won the Goal of the Year.
Full list of 2021 AFLW Awards
Best and fairest: Brianna Davey (Collingwood) and Kiara Bowers (Fremantle)
Rising Star: Tyla Hanks (Melbourne)
Goal of the Year: Courtney Hodder (Brisbane)
Mark of the Year: Danielle Ponter (Adelaide)
2021 AFLW All-Australian team
Sarah Allan, Adelaide Crows
Meghan McDonald, Geelong Cats
Ruby Schleicher, Collingwood
Kate Lutkins, Brisbane Lions
Janelle Cuthbertson, Fremantle Dockers
Monique Conti, Richmond
Kiara Bowers, Fremantle (VC)
Georgia Patrikios, St. Kilda
Jasmine Garner, North Melbourne
Katie Brennan, Richmond
Ellie Blackburn, Western Bulldogs
Erin Phillips, Adelaide Crows
Chloe Molloy, Collingwood
Breann Moody, Carlton
Brianna Davey, Collingwood (C)
Alyce Parker, GWS GIANTS
Ebony Marinoff, Adelaide Crows
Brittany Bonnici, Collingwood
Darcy Vescio, Carlton
Karen Paxman, Melbourne
Emma Kearney, North Melbourne