Norwood midfielder Najwa Allen has left a lasting first impression on the SANFL Statewide Super Women's League after winning the 2019 Best and Fairest Award, presented tonight at Adelaide Oval.
Recruited from Canberra in the off-season, Allen polled 17 votes to edge out Redlegs team-mate Monique Hollick who was runner-up with 14.
Fellow Norwood player Hannah Dunn made it a red-and-blue trifecta in the polling, placing third with 13 votes.
Averaging 25.4 disposals, five marks and three clearances in her inaugural SANFL Women's campaign, Allen also had an impact on the scoreboard with seven goals for the season.
The 24-year-old polled five first preferences from the umpires, including three in the last four matches of the minor round to leapfrog team-mates Hollick and Dunn, who were joint leaders at the end of Round 6.
Allen also capped off a fine season by being named as the ruck rover and vice-captain in The Advertiser SANFL Women's Team of the Year.
The former GWS player added to her list of accolades in 2019 after claiming the SANFL Women’s Coaches Trophy. Allen polled 68 votes from coaches, 20 ahead of her nearest rival in North Adelaide co-captain Nadia Von Bertouch.
Meanwhile, North Adelaide's Kelly Barltrop was a comfortable winner of the 2019 ISC Leading Goalkicker Award. Booting 26 majors across the minor round, the former Adelaide United Goalkeeper was a significant 12 goals ahead of her nearest rival in West Adelaide's Chelsea Biddell on 14.
“The display of skill, intensity and passion in SANFL Women’s continues to grow and tonight, we recognise Najwa Allen as the 2019 Statewide Super Women’s League Best and Fairest player,” said SANFL CEO Jake Parkinson.
“Congratulations also must go to star forward Kelly Barltrop, who has set a new benchmark as the competition’s leading goal kicker, booting an incredible 26 goals in just 10 matches and surpassing the previous record of 15 goals.”
The 2019 SANFL Statewide Super League saw all eight SANFL Clubs represented for the first time, with Woodville-West Torrens and Central District football clubs making their debut this year.
The Grand Final will be played this Sunday, May 26 at 4pm at ACH Group Stadium between reigning Premiers South Adelaide and North Adelaide.
Mr Parkinson said the SANFL Women’s competition – with total prizemoney of $20,000 awarded to the Grand Finalists – provided an aspirational pathway for the thousands of girls and women now playing competition football across the State.
“The rise of female participation continues at pace, with over 7,000 females registered at clubs to date this year – 1,155 more than at the same time in 2018,” Mr Parkinson said.
“We now have a clear pathway for female footballers from the grassroots level right through to the SANFL Statewide Super Women’s League.”
Statewide Super Chief Executive Officer Tony D’Alessandro said Statewide Super was thrilled to see the SANFL Women’s competition grow to an historic eight teams in only its third season
“We are incredibly proud to be the naming rights sponsor of the SANFL Statewide Super Women’s League and to share in what was another great season this year,” Mr D’Alessandro said.
“As South Australia’s local industry fund this partnership is a natural fit for us. The Women’s players are inspirational ambassadors who have played a huge role in the growth of football at a State League level.
“With unprecedented growth in female football, there is still much to be done when it comes to fostering and continuing the growth of women in sport and Statewide Super hopes to lead the conversation.”
Statewide Super Women’s League Best & Fairest – Top 10
Najwa Allen (Norwood) 17
Monique Hollick (Norwood) 14
Hannah Dunn (Norwood) 13
Czenya Cavouras (South) 12
Nadia Von Bertouch (North) 11
Abbie Ballard (West) 10
Jaimi Tabb (Eagles) 9
Chelsea Biddell (West) 9
Teah Charlton (South) 9