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AFLW: Captain Courageous

Staff writers with Robert Beaton, AFLPlayers.com.au  March 27, 2017 11:44 AM

AFLW 2017 Grand Final - Brisbane v Adelaide

Chelsea Randall crashes in

I’ve asked her ‘dude, what were you thinking’ and she’s always like ‘I just had to go Gibbo!’, so I’m pretty glad she continually gets back up again

Premiership winning Crows co-captain Chelsea Randall has been recognised with the AFLW Players’ Most Courageous Award.

Randall, 26, received the peer-voted award at the AFLW Players’ MVP presentation on Monday.

The influential utility won the esteemed award with 80 votes – 23 votes clear of Carlton defender Brianna Davey (57). Greater Western Sydney midfielder Jessica Dal Pos finished third (22 votes).

Randall inspired her teammates and won admirers across the AFL Women’s Competition with her uncompromising approach.

Playing across half-back with stints in the midfield, the West Australian marquee signing routinely threw herself at the contest and in front of bigger-bodied opponents with scant regard for her own wellbeing.

She finished the home and away season ranked second in the League for intercept marks, and top 10 for inside 50ms (fifth), tackles (seventh) and contested possessions (10th).

Randall's courage in her personal life is also equally as inspiring after she moved from her home in Perth to the regional mining town of Newman a couple of years ago, which didn’t go unnoticed from Adelaide and Swan Districts teammate Kellie Gibson.

“She picked up all of her stuff and her dog and moved to Newman which is 13 hours inland from Perth and there’s not a beach in sight – apparently all you see is red dirt,” Gibson told Aflplayers.com.au.

“She wanted something more for herself, she wanted to further her career outside of football and that’s a massive achievement. She is very courageous in that regard, too.

“She travelled to and from Newman to Perth a total of eight times. I don’t know how she did it, she would’ve got pretty lonely although she did have her dog with her.”

When it comes to her bravery on the field, Randall has described herself as “stupid” at times.

Gibson, who was also signed by the Crows as a marquee player, started playing with Randall as a teenager at Swan Districts and immediately noticed her fearless approach on the ground.

“She’s probably the most courageous player I’ve played with or against. You watch her on the field and can’t help but grit your teeth and think she’s not going to come out of the contest okay.

“I remember when we played together at Swan Districts, she would sit in the forward line and take these huge screamers and run back with the flight of the ball. One time she jumped over three people to make a spoil in the last quarter of a do or die match.

“There was also an exhibition game in 2014 where she took a heavy knock after flying across and smashing into her opponent legally and she just got up and ran down to score a goal.

“I don’t think any other player has that true ability to go back with the flight like she does.

“I’ve asked her ‘dude, what were you thinking’ and she’s always like ‘I just had to go Gibbo!’, so I’m pretty glad she continually gets back up again.”

Matching her skills on the field is Randall’s leadership. She’s a large voice at training and provides the hyperactive energy to get the team up and going.

Overall, Randall is one of the best ambassadors for women’s footy and continues to mentor the players she co-captains at the Crows.

“She’s like an older sister to me, which sometimes mean she annoys me at home but she’s always there to get me through the times as well.

“She’s never negative, it’s always positive for her and she loves a good sing along in the car and throwing the radio on when she’s cooking.

“She inspires me to be a better person on and off the field.”

As part of the voting process, each player nominated the teammate they considered the Most Courageous. Those nominations were then put to the entire AFLW playing body to vote on.

Voting Most Courageous Award, proudly presented by Bob Jane T-Marts
1) Chelsea Randall (80)
2) Brianna Davey (57)
3) Jessica Dal Pos (22)