Two rounds of the AFL Women’s competition have been played and a group of frontrunners have emerged as potential winners of the inaugural AFLW MVP award.
The AFLPA will determine a shortlist of 24 players from the eight clubs after the Grand Final in March.
The award will then be voted upon in the same way as the men’s with every player voting for three players from any team except their own.
Here are the players shaping up as the early favourites for the medal.
Ebony Marinoff (Adelaide)
The Crows’ top draft selection has wasted no time establishing herself as one of the best players in the game. The 19-year-old has arguably been best on ground in both of Adelaide’s games, averaging 19 disposals, six tackles and five clearances per game. She could very easily take both the MVP and the Rising Star award this year.
Brianna Davey (Carlton)
If you were building the perfect player for this competition, Bri Davey would be a pretty good model. The 21-year-old gathers a lot of the ball and can be used down back, but her main strength lies in how much stronger she is than the players around her. She’s ranked in the top three for both contested and uncontested possessions and has more rebound 50s than any other player in the comp, a very important statistic in AFLW so far. She’s also played 100% of game time in both matches, which is crazy for a player who’s getting so much of the ball.
Emma Kearney (Western Bulldogs)
Emma Kearney is a full-time PE teacher which means if you’re her student, you should be paying very close attention, because she has dominated AFLW so far. Kearney is ranked first for disposals, but it’s her run and carry that’s been devastating, opening the game up for the Bulldogs. The Melbourne Stars bowler is the only player to average multiple bounces per game too and is also ranked second for clearances in the competition.
Daisy Pearce (Melbourne)
Pearce has been the face of AFLW since its origin and while she hasn’t been as flashy as some other players, she’s certainly carried the load for the Demons. She’s ranked in the top five for disposals and is averaging nearly nine tackles per game. On top of that, she is clearly Melbourne’s most important player from a leadership standpoint and her second half was pivotal to getting the Demons over the line against Collingwood.
Erin Phillips (Adelaide)
Converting from basketball, the Crows skipper has been a key reason for the club’s success in the opening rounds. The 31-year-old kicked three goals in round one, playing mostly as a half forward, but pushed further up the ground against the Bulldogs, gathering 17 disposals. A two-time Olympian, Phillips brings a wealth of invaluable experience to the Crows.
Darcy Vescio (Carlton)
Darcy Vescio may not be a high disposal winner, but she is the definition of a match winner. The forward has kicked six goals so far in AFLW, double that of anyone else and could have a couple more if not for some unselfish passing. When clubs come up against Carlton, the first question will always revolve around how to stop Vescio and that is in essence what an MVP is all about.
Tayla Harris (Brisbane)
At 19 years old, Tayla Harris is already the dominant key position forward of the competition. The torrential rain of round one didn’t do her any favours, but she was the match winner and arguably the difference between the two sides against Fremantle, kicking two goals and taking seven marks. Harris’ contested marking ability is seemingly miles ahead of anyone else and the stats back that up. She’s taken eight so far across the two games, even with the wild weather of round one. The next closest is Vescio with three. If Brisbane are going to make the final, you better believe they’ll need Harris firing.
Elise O’Dea (Melbourne)
Elise O’Dea may be playing second fiddle to Pearce, but she’s arguably been the Demons’ best player in the opening two rounds. The Demons took O’Dea with pick eight in the draft and the midfielder has averaged 17 disposals per game and 7 tackles. She’s provided a lot of run for the Demons and is ranked second in the league for inside 50’s.
Jess Dal Pos (GWS)
Jess Dal Pos is a bit more of a wildcard, but has still had an opening fortnight worth mentioning. GWS have had to play without their two marquees in Renee Forth and Emma Swanson, a tough task for any team, but Dal Pos has stood up and become the focal point of the midfield in their absence. The midfielder is ranked first for tackles and while she’s only averaging 11 disposals, her disposal efficiency of 74% as well as her ability to kick goals has made her the Giants’ best player to date.
Others: Katie Brennan (WBD), Sarah Perkins (ADE), Ellie Blackburn (WBD) and Bianca Jakobsson (CAR).