NT Thunder had a rewarding night at its first VFL Best and Fairest presentation, with captain Angela Foley finishing third in the Lambert-Pearce Medal count, the best and fairest for the VFL Women’s competition.
Foley averaged 22 disposals, three clearances, four tackles and a goal a game across the 12 regular season matches she played.
Thunder also finished with the third-most votes of any club (57 votes), with Collingwood (62 votes) and Hawthorn (59 votes) only marginally ahead.
Foley was also one of three ThunderW players named in the Team of the Year, given a coveted rover position, while Adelaide-based Jess Sedunary was rewarded for her attack on the ball and named as a half-forward flank and Emma Swanson’s ability to turn a game was recognised with the star player named on the interchange bench.
NT Thunder had the equal most representatives in the Team of the Year, along with Geelong and Hawthorn, who also had three players named.
High-flying forward Jasmyn Hewett was also named as the VFL W Play of the Year for her spectacular mark on the grandstand wing of TIO Stadium in Round 5 against the Western Bulldogs. You can watch Hewett take to the sky here.
In the race for the Lambert-Pearce Medal, Foley along with Thunder defender and AFLW star, Chelsea Randall had six votes apiece and sat equal fifth after the first six rounds of counting, with eventual-winner Williamstown’s Jess Duffin starting off strongly with nine votes.
But as is well documented, Randall’s trip overseas meant she did not play again after this stage of the competition.
By Round 10, Thunder had well and truly announced itself as a competitor and Foley was a key factor behind its success, with the defender getting more time in the midfield. Even though she missed the Round 10 game against Darebin, she moved to outright third with 11 votes.
She sat two votes behind equal-leaders Duffin and Nat Exon from the Darebin Falcons.
None of the three played in Round 11 but in Round 12 a hard-fought win in Alice Springs earned Foley a single vote, and she was the only player of the top three to do so that weekend.
A dominant performance against the Williamstown Seagulls, Duffin’s team, the week later handed Foley three votes as she skipped ahead to 15 votes and the outright lead.
But with only two games for Thunder left to play and her fellow contenders with three games in hand the odds were against her.
She managed one more vote in Thunder’s loss to Hawthorn in Round 15 to finish the night on 16 votes, while two perfect games to end Duffin’s season had her finish on 23, and Lauren Pearce the big ruck from the Falcons stormed home to finish second on 17 votes.
Post-event Foley said she was surprised at a top three finish.
“I am a little shocked but really happy as well. Coming into the night I think everyone knew Jess Duffin was the standout in this year’s competition but I am honoured to have polled well and hope I can keep my good form up going into the AFLW season and again next year,” she said.
NT Thunder recognition
Swisse VFL Women’s Team of the Year
Angela Foley – Rover
Jessica Sedunary – Half-forward flank
Emma Swanson – Interchange
Recognised for having the VFL W Play of the Year
Jasmyn Hewett – Round 5 vs Western Bulldogs
Lambert-Pearce Medal leaderboard for NT Thunder
Angela Foley – 16 votes – 3rd place overall
Jasmyn Hewett – 8 votes
Chelsea Randall – 6 votes
Eloise Jones – 5 votes
Anne Hatchard – 3 votes
Ebony Marinoff – 3 votes
Lisa Roberts – 3 votes
Renee Forth – 3 votes
Emma Swanson – 2 votes
Jess Allan – 2 votes
Jessica Sedunary – 2 votes
Katie Streader – 1 vote
Morgan Johnston – 1 vote
Sarah Allan – 1 vote
Sophie Armitstead – 1 vote
Total votes by club
NT Thunder – 57 votes
Carlton – 47
Casey Demons – 33
Collingwood – 62
Darebin – 47
Essendon – 22
Geelong Cats – 53
Hawthorn – 59
Melbourne Uni – 42
Richmond – 25
Southern Saints – 27
Western Bulldogs – 36
Williamstown – 36