Lauren Wood names her best players in AFLW for 2019.
Lauren Wood names her best players in AFLW for 2019.

Top 20: Best AFLW players from 2019

The AFLW season is done and dusted for another year and while some familiar names starred, some new players stepped up and announced themselves as stars of the competition.

LAUREN WOOD names her top 20 AFLW players from season 2019.

 

 

 

 

1. ERIN PHILLIPS (Adelaide)

It was wondered whether Phillips could reproduce her blistering form of season one. Well, after a virtual rebuild of her body and technique over the off-season, she proved she could go to a new level. A simply stunning footballer and athlete who dominates the contest. There was ACL heartbreak in Sunday's Grand Final, but if anyone has what it takes to return, it's the 33-year-old.

 

Erin Phillips is the best player in AFLW.
Erin Phillips is the best player in AFLW.

 

2. KIARA BOWERS (Fremantle)

The Docker was made to wait for her debut - 921 days from signing to saluting - but boy, was it worth it. Described by teammate Ebony Antonio as an "absolute animal", Bowers is one of the fiercest players and topped the competition with 89 tackles - 21 more than her nearest rival.

3. JESS DUFFIN (North Melbourne)

Hopped from the Holden Centre to Arden Street and looked right at home from the outset, using her speed to her advantage as a dominant rebound defender. So reliable and so effective.

4. EBONY MARINOFF (Adelaide)

Added more strings to her ever-growing bow this season. The inaugural Rising Star of AFLW is coming of age before our very eyes, dominating contested possessions and is a tackling machine. Racks up touches and uses them wisely. Now a two-time premiership player, too.

 

Ebony Marinoff established herself as one of the game’s best midfielders in 2019. Picture Sarah Reed
Ebony Marinoff established herself as one of the game’s best midfielders in 2019. Picture Sarah Reed

 

5. EBONY ANTONIO (Fremantle)

Caused headaches at selection - but not for the usual reason - as Fremantle line coaches fought over which end wanted her most. That just goes to show her value at both ends of the ground. The AFLW's prototype swing player.

6. MADDY PRESPAKIS (Carlton)

If you'd watched this young gun for the first time this season, you'd be forgiven for thinking she'd been playing at the elite level for years. Took the competition by the horns and looked every bit at home in the Blues' midfield and on the biggest stage on Sunday. Big things ahead.

7. BRIANNA DAVEY (Carlton)

Such an inspirational skipper. Gave her all over the last few months and then again on Sunday against the Crows, tasked with taking on Erin Phillips. Despite starting her AFLW career in defence, she has trained as a forward and then proved herself as one of the best midfielders in the game.

 

Maddy Prespakis impressed in her debut season. Picture: Getty
Maddy Prespakis impressed in her debut season. Picture: Getty

 

8. MONIQUE CONTI (Western Bulldogs)

The zippy Bulldog lived up to her Rising Star title this season, finishing fourth in the AFLCA player of the year award. A standout in the final clash of the year where she racked up 25 touches. Scarily, will only get better.

9. EMMA KEARNEY (North Melbourne)

The reigning best and fairest award winner racked up the disposals again this season but might have lost some votes to her mate Jess Duffin. So influential with ball in hand and in front of goal.

10. DANA HOOKER (Fremantle)

An absolute contested beast, Hooker lived up to her club best and fairest award-winning ways this season. A vital cog in the engine room for the Dockers, Hooker averaged more than 16 disposals and 11 contested possessions this season.

11. CHELSEA RANDALL (Adelaide)

Arguably the competition's best defender, the Western Australian is now also a two-time premiership co-captain. What a record. Intercept marking is a real strength, as is her tackling ability. So composed.

 

Meg McDonald repaid the faith Geelong showed in her this season. Picture: Getty
Meg McDonald repaid the faith Geelong showed in her this season. Picture: Getty

 

12. MEG McDONALD (Geelong)

What an emergence. After a year off, McDonald repaid the faith of the Cats as a general across halfback. Her work as an interceptor proved key to Geelong's inaugural season and she was rewarded with selection in the All-Australian squad.

13. ELLIE BLACKBURN (Western Bulldogs)

The Western Bulldogs co-skipper delivered yet another blistering season in a campaign that proved tough for the reigning premiers. Averaged more than 17 touches per game to earn her third consecutive All-Australian squad selection.

14. STEVIE-LEE THOMPSON (Adelaide)

The competition's leading goalkicker and now a premiership forward. Proved crucial not only to the Crows' campaign but also their Grand Final win to add a second premiership medal to her cupboard. Flashy, fast, and tough to catch.

15. EMMA KING (North Melbourne)

Like Duffin, shifted from Collingwood but brought her form with her. Well in contention to be this year's All-Australian ruck and also proved valuable in front of goal for the Kangaroos. Almost unstoppable.

 

Emma King was a standout in the ruck and up forward for the Kangaroos. Picture: Getty
Emma King was a standout in the ruck and up forward for the Kangaroos. Picture: Getty

 

16. ANNE HATCHARD (Adelaide)

Probably stiff to sit this low, especially after Sunday's glittering showing at Adelaide Oval where she missed out on best afield honours by just one vote. Played every game this season and always had an influence in the middle alongside Phillips.

17. ASH BRAZILL (Collingwood)

The cross-coder looked every bit the elite defender this season with her rebounding work off halfback a shining light of Collingwood's disappointing season. Always so smart with ball in hand.

18. ALLY ANDERSON (Brisbane)

The Lions midfielder shone again this season, averaging 21 disposals per game. She flies under the radar at times but is simply relentless and should be recognised with All-Australian selection on Tuesday night.

19. KAREN PAXMAN (Melbourne)

A machine of the Melbourne midfield and one of its - if not the - most vital members. Is so strong in the contest and her ability to clear the ball is something to behold. Always clever.

20. KERRYN HARRINGTON (Carlton)

Loved by the Blues and is earning the plaudits she deserves. As the season went on, the former basketballer often became tasked with shutting down one of the strongest opposition forwards and handled herself with composure.

 

Brianna Davey in action.
Brianna Davey in action.