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Brilliant Bates’ crowning moment

Brisbane foundation player Emily Bates’ already decorated AFLW career has been further enhanced, winning the AFLW Players’ Most Valuable Player Award, proudly presented by Snaffle, for her outstanding 2022 campaign.

Fresh from her AFLW best and fairest victory, the 26-year-old was voted the MVP by her peers with 286 votes, edging out North Melbourne midfielder Ashleigh Riddell (256) and Richmond’s Monique Conti (164).

Bates now joins Michael Voss (2002 and 2003) and Lachie Neale (2020) as Brisbane players to win an MVP trophy, while Paul Roos (1986) also claimed the title while playing for Fitzroy.

The Brisbane midfielder, who became one of the first players to reach 50 AFLW games this season, averaged 21 disposals, 11 contested possessions, 5.6 clearances and seven tackles per game in 2022.

Bates was presented with her MVP trophy at a special in-person event in St Kilda and via a broadcast with Channel 7 program Front Bar on Wednesday night.

In a tribute piece on the AFL Players’ website, Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich praised Bates’ efforts over a long period of time.

“When Emily started in the competition, she was already accomplished but perhaps in the shadows of some of the bigger names and Victorian-based midfielders that were in the competition from the get-go,” Starcevich said.

“Now that she’s in her mid-20s, had five or so pre-seasons, played 53 games – she’s now got real status in the comp. I think the awards that she’s getting this season are now starting to cement her right at the top, which is fantastic for her.”

Also awarded as part of the celebrations on Wednesday were the Most Courageous, Best Captain and Best First Year Player Awards, proudly presented by Our Watch, The Diamond Guys and KPMG respectively.

After finishing runner-up last year, tough Western Bulldogs midfielder Kirsty Lamb claimed the Most Courageous Award, becoming the first player outside of Chelsea Randall (2017-2019 and 2021) and Kiara Bowers (2020) to do so – polling 107 votes ahead of Collingwood’s Jaimee Lambert and North Melbourne’s Tahlia Randall who finished equal-second.

Further stamping her claim as one of the best leaders in the game, Melbourne skipper Daisy Pearce was voted the Best Captain with 113 votes ahead of Fremantle’s Hayley Miller (92) – her fourth title in the five years she’s been eligible.

The players also crowned another newcomer, with Gold Coast’s Charlie Rowbottom taking out the Best First Year Player Award. Rowbottom, pick one in last year’s draft, polled 118 votes, beating Geelong youngster, and pick two in last year’s draft, Georgie Prespakis (88).

Consistent with the process to crown the male MVP, known as the Leigh Matthews Trophy, the AFLPA’s AFLW members voted to decide the player worthiest of the AFLW Players’ MVP Award (details below).


AFLW Players’ Most Valuable Player

  1. Emily Bates – 286 votes
  2. Ashleigh Riddell – 256
  3. Monique Conti – 164

Most Courageous, proudly presented by Our Watch

  1. Kirsty Lamb – 107
  2. Jaimee Lambert – 29
  3. Tahlia Randall – 29

Best Captain, proudly presented by The Diamond Guys

  1. Daisy Pearce – 113
  2. Hayley Miller – 92
  3. Ellie Blackburn – 25

Best First Year Player Award, proudly presented by KPMG

  1. Charlie Rowbottom – 118
  2. Georgie Prespakis – 88
  3. Eliza West – 49

MVP Voting Process

MVP voting is a two-stage process, beginning with each player voting for the three teammates they consider to have been the most valuable this season. Each club’s votes are then tallied to form a nomination list, with 42 players across the 14 teams nominated for the award.

In the second round of voting, all players vote for their MVP on a 3, 2, 1 basis from the nominees of the 13 other clubs. The votes are tallied and the player with the highest score wins the honour of MVP. Players cannot vote for their own teammates in stage two of the process.

A similar process is followed for Best First-Year Player and Most Courageous, with every captain automatically nominated for the Best Captain Award.

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