Young Talent Time at SANFLW Best and Fairest

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By ZAC MILBANK

West Adelaide rookie Lauren Young has scooped the SANFLW awards pool after being crowned the 2021 Statewide Super Women’s League Best and Fairest at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday night.

Aged just 15, Young’s precocious talent was underlined by her not only being recognised by the umpires as the competition’s most outstanding player this year but also the SANFLW coaches in claiming the Kia Coaches Award.

And if that wasn’t enough, the Statewide Super SA U19 MVP also took home the 2021 Powerade Breakthrough Player trophy for her stunning display on debut in Round 1.

Polling a total of 18 votes, Young held a one vote advantage over Glenelg’s Jessica Bates and Central’s Shelby Smith heading into the final home-and-away fixture of Round 11.

The Henley High School student was then able to stretch her final margin to four with a first preference in the Bloods’ thrilling one-point win against South Adelaide.

Young polled a total of five first preferences, banking one in her first SANFLW League game against Norwood in Round 1, the same match she earned her Powerade Breakthrough Player nomination.

Now the third West Adelaide player to win the SANFLW Best and Fairest Award, Young joins the Martin sisters – Hannah (2018) and Rachelle (2020) – in being recognised as the competition’s best.

Together with the prestige of being the youngest SANFLW Best and Fairest winner, Young will receive $1000 courtesy of Statewide Super.

Kia Coaches Award

A near perfect score in Round 11 ensured West Adelaide’s Lauren Young would seal victory in the race for the 2021 Kia Coaches Award.

Polling nine of a possible 10 votes in the Bloods’ final minor round match against South Adelaide, Young edged out Sturt’s Izzy Kuiper by just two votes to earn the ultimate respect of the SANFLW coaches.

Joining Rachelle Martin, in 2020, as the only West players to win the Kia Coaches Award, the 15-year-old attracted votes from the coaches in every game except Rounds 5 and 7.

Kuiper received a total of eight votes in her final match of the season against North, meaning that a perfect 10 from her last performance would have tied up the tally with Young on 52.

Glenelg ball magnet Jessica Bates finished third with 49 votes while Central skipper Shelby Smith was also high among the leaders in fourth with 47 votes.

Player SANFL Club Votes
Lauren Young West Adelaide 52
Izzy Kuiper Sturt 50
Jessica Bates Glenelg 49
Shelby Smith Central District 47
Ailish Considine West Adelaide 37
Nicole Campbell South Adelaide 34
Leah Cutting Norwood 33
Annie Falkenberg Eagles 32
Sophie Armitstead Norwood 30
Jaimee Wittervan Sturt 28

West’s Lauren Young celebrates in Round 10.

AAMI Leading Goal Kicker

Central District’s Chantel Reynolds doubled her tally of career goals in one season while claiming the AAMI Leading Goal Kicker Award.

The 29-year-old had kicked seven goals in two seasons leading into 2021 but booted a total of 14 across the minor round to head the list of the best forwards in the Statewide Super Women’s League.

Recruited from Angle Vale, Reynolds posted two hauls of three goals – in Round 1 against the Eagles and Round 5 against West Adelaide.

Reynolds is the first Bulldogs player to top the SANFLW Goal Kicking list, joining current teammate Katelyn Rosenzweig, who won the award in 2018 playing for North Adelaide.

Rosenzweig placed equal third this year with South’s Jorja Hooper on 11 goals, behind runner-up in Norwood’s Rosette Zerella, who booted 12 majors in 2021.

As winner of the AAMI SANFLW Leading Goal Kicker award, Reynolds will receive a cash prize of $500 courtesy of AAMI.

Player SANFL Club Total Goals (minor round)
Chantel Reynolds Central District 14
Rosette Zerella Norwood 12
Katelyn Rosenzweig Central District 11
Jorja Hooper South Adelaide 11
Elizabeth Drake Norwood 10

Central’s Chantel Reynolds in action in Round 6.

SA Power Networks Leadership Award

Sturt captain Maya Rigter has won the inaugural SA Power Networks Leadership Award after being nominated by the Double Blues for her outstanding team-first approach in 2021.

Introduced for the first time this year, the SA Power Networks Leadership Award recognises players for their off-field attitude as much as their on-field achievements.

The award was developed from the Female Personal Pathways program – a series of workshops and forums covering leadership, financial and career development, club culture and mental health education.

Each SANFL club nominated a player based on a number of criteria, including demonstrating care in mentoring younger players at their club, inspiring and encouraging personal development and having values that reflect those of their club.

Rigter will receive a $5000 contribution towards her MBA studies at Torrens University.

 

Player Club
Shelby Smith Central District
Ellie Kellock Glenelg
Brianna Arthur North Adelaide
Ali Ferrall Norwood
Brianna Wedding South Adelaide
Maya Rigter Sturt
Madi Russell West Adelaide
Annie Falkenberg Woodville-West Torrens

Sturt captain Maya Rigter hunts the ball down in Round 6.