21/04/2024

Best and Fairest winners Bri Davey and Kiara Bowers. Photo: womens.afl

For the first time in competition history, the AFLW Best and Fairest has been awarded to two players in Kiara Bowers and Bri Davey.

For the first time in AFLW history, the best and fairest award has been awarded to two players.

Finishing on 15 votes each, Fremantle’s Kiara Bowers and Collingwood’s Brianna Davey both took home the competition’s most prestigious honour.

The pair were also named vice-captain and captain of the All-Australian team respectively.

Bowers was previously voted by the coaches as 2021’s best player, while Davey won the AFLPA most valuable player.

Speaking after receiving the medal, Bowers couldn’t be more grateful for the honour.

“I’m in utter shock at the moment, I feel very fortunate to wear this around my neck,” she said.

“I’m feeling pretty lucky to be honest…I never thought this would be possible so it’s definitely shock going through me at the moment.”

While both winners fell excruciatingly short of the 2021 premiership, Bowers believes that both herself and her team are doing all they can.

It’s a big part of the reason why she’s come as far as she has.

“The hunger is there for everyone and I know it’s there for me,” she said.

“You just want to be the best player you can be.

“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.”

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Davey’s reaction was written all over her face from the moment she was announced as the winner, to talking about her family in her acceptance speech.

“It’s very overwhelming, and quite emotional. Stoked, quite happy,” she said.

Sharing the award is a first for the AFLW, but Davey believes it doesn’t make the medal around her neck any less special.

“So deserved [for Bowers],” she said.

“I think Kiara’s been an absolute force in this comp, and she has been for years. Injuries have plagued, and I get that as well, I can relate.

“It’s an honour to be able to wear a medal like this and alongside a player like her is pretty cool.”

The count was one of the tightest in AFLW history, the top five players all ranging between 15 and 13 votes each.

Davey and Bowers both failed to poll in round eight, Pies midfielder Britt Bonnici snagging the three votes off her captain.

This resulted in an entertaining moment at the Pies table.

“She actually turned to me and said ‘sorry Bri!’,” Davey laughed.

“There’s actually no need for her to be sorry, Britta [Bonnici] was such an awesome player for us this year, and there were probably games where I stole votes from her.

“It was a bit tense, and like I said I wasn’t expecting to necessarily be up there.

“For me, I was here to have a good night, and it was pretty bloody good.”

The other awards given out on the night included Melbourne mid Tyla Hanks winning the NAB Rising Star, Brisbane’s Courtney Hodder taking out Goal of the Year and Adelaide’s Danielle Ponter winning Mark of the Year.

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