GIANTS vice-captain Alicia Eva has capped off an outstanding first season in the orange and charcoal, winning the Gabrielle Trainor Medal as AFLW club champion on Wednesday night.
In front of almost 200 people at Rosehill Racecourse in Western Sydney, Eva polled consistently across the seven rounds to finish on 79 votes, 10 ahead of AFLW Players’ MVP Courtney Gum.
Inaugural captain Amanda Farrugia finished on 61 votes with reigning Gabrielle Trainor Medallist Jessica Dal Pos and Rising Star winner Elle Bennetts rounding out the top five.
Eva hit the lead for the first time in round two, trading places with Gum in round three before topping the leaderboard again in round four and never relinquishing her lead.
The former Collingwood vice-captain finished second in their Best and Fairest in 2017 but went one better at her new club, averaging 18 disposals and seven tackles per game.
AFLW Head Coach Alan McConnell said it was a testament to Eva’s season that she took home the club’s top award.
“We knew when we recruited Alicia that she was a quality player and a quality person, and she has more than proven that in the short time she’s been at our club,” McConnell said.
“She has led from the front both on and off the field and absolutely deserves this honour after a consistently high-quality season.
“I’d also like to pay tribute to Courtney and Amanda. As we well know, Courtney has left plenty behind to pursue her AFLW dream and we’re so proud of what she’s achieved this season.
“Amanda is one of the best captains in this competition and took her game to a new level on-field this year in a different role for us.”
McConnell, along with his three Assistant Coaches, vote on the Gabrielle Trainor Medal with up to four votes able to be awarded to a player by each coach every round, with every player able to receive a maximum of 16 votes per round.
First-year rookie and netball code-crosser Elle Bennetts took home the Rising Star Award, McKinnon received the Community Award for going above and beyond in giving back to the game, and Gum was named the Members’ Choice.
Britt Tully received the Coaches Award for the second season in a row while Phoebe McWilliams took home the Mark of the Year for her big pack mark in round three against Collingwood and also led the GIANTS’ goal kicking for the second straight year.
International import Cora Staunton took home the Goal of the Year for her mark and burst away from the pack against the Bulldogs in round six, along with a top 10 finish in the Medal.
Deputy Chairman Joseph Carrozzi paid tribute to the entire team, led by new coach McConnell, for a wonderful season.
“It’s hard to believe that a year ago, we were sitting here celebrating our inaugural season which resulted in just one victory.,” Mr Carrozzi said.
“12 months later, the AFLW program has come on in leaps and bounds both on and off the field.
“Understandably there was disappointment amongst the team and the fans you’ve inspired because the goal you set with coach Alan McConnell wasn’t quite reached, but there are also so many positives to reflect on.
“From the girls who returned for a second season and took their game to a new level, to those that switched clubs to represent the GIANTS, and those that got their first taste of AFLW - no matter where you came from or how you got here, you’re our ‘Dad’s Army’ and we couldn’t be prouder of you.
“This playing group and their mix of unique stories and backgrounds has been embraced by the people of NSW and the ACT and inspired the next generation who look up to you.”
The Gabrielle Trainor Medal was named after former GIANTS board member and current AFL Commissioner Gabrielle Trainor, who was on hand to present the award, to recognise her contribution to the club and women’s football in NSW.
Ms Trainor was an inaugural GIANTS board member as well as a member of the Team GWS advisory committee before joining the AFL Commission in 2016.
Prior to joining the GIANTS, Ms Trainor also served on the AFL NSW/ACT Commission for 10 years. She worked to support the then-fledgling Sydney Women’s AFL in its development and its relationship with the Commission.
Eva is the second player to be awarded the Gabrielle Trainor Medal, following inaugural winner Jessica Dal Pos in 2017.
2018 Gabrielle Trainor Medal Top 10
1. Alicia Eva (79 votes)
2. Courtney Gum (69)
3. Amanda Farrugia (61)
4. Jessica Dal Pos (52)
5. Elle Bennetts (49)
6. Cora Staunton (47)
7. Nicola Barr (46)
Britt Tully (46)
8. Rebecca Beeson (45)
Jacinda Barclay (45)
2018 Rising Star Award, presented by Harvey Norman
2018 Community Award, presented by FlexiGroup
2018 Members’ Choice Award, presented by Sydney Airport
2018 Mark of the Year
Phoebe McWilliams - Round 3 v Collingwood
2018 Goal of the Year
Cora Staunton - Round 6 v Western Bulldogs
2018 Leading Goal Kicker
Phoebe McWilliams (7 goals)
2018 Coaches Award, presented by Grace Group
Previous Gabrielle Trainor Medal winners
2017 - Jessica Dal Pos