Crows star Erin Phillips has added to her incredible list of accolades, taking out the AFLW Players’ Most Valuable Player Award.
Phillips claimed the peer-voted award with 204 votes, ahead of Melbourne midfielder Karen Paxman (149 votes) and the League’s leading goalkicker, Carlton’s Darcy Vescio (132).
The 31-year-old accepted the MVP trophy at a ceremony in Melbourne on Monday, before she returns to her basketball duties with the WNBA’s Dallas Wings in the coming weeks.
The coveted award is further recognition of a remarkable season from Phillips, who hadn’t played football competitively for more than 15 years prior to February.
Daughter of Port Adelaide champion Greg Phillips, the Olympic silver medallist and two-time WNBA Champion said she felt privileged to have been part of the inaugural AFL Women’s Competition.
“I’m incredibly humbled to have won this award. To be recognised by your peers is something all athletes hold in high esteem and this is something I will hold very close to my heart for a long time,” she said.
“I’m so proud of what we, as AFLW players, have been able to achieve over the past eight weeks and look forward to what the future holds for all of us as players and aspiring female footballers right across Australia.”
Phillips also finished second in the Best Captain Award, which was won by Melbourne skipper Daisy Pearce. Pearce polled 63 votes ahead of Phillips (30) and Brisbane’s Emma Zielke (27 votes).
Fellow Crows co-captain Chelsea Randall claimed the Most Courageous Award. See the voting here.
AFL Players’ Association CEO Paul Marsh paid tribute to all three winners and described the presentation of an AFLW MVP as a “historic moment” in the AFL Players’ Association’s history.
“Congratulations to Erin, Chelsea and Daisy for their performances throughout the season and earning the recognition of the wider playing group as such worthy winners of these awards,” Marsh said.
“Erin’s ability to have such an impact on the competition off the back of her basketball commitments is testament to her incredible skill, athleticism and toughness.
“Chelsea is the ultimate professional and a big reason why the Crows are premiers, while Daisy’s leadership qualities were obvious long before the AFLW competition arrived.”
Consistent with the process to crown the male MVP, known as the Leigh Matthews Trophy, the AFLPA’s female members voted to decide the player worthiest of the AFLW Players’ MVP Award (details below).
Following Monday’s event, every AFLW player will be invited to the AFL Players’ MVP Awards in September where both male and female award winners will be celebrated.
At this ceremony, an Education and Development Award will be presented to the AFLW player who has best combined their football commitments with study, work placements or career development.
Winners and top polling players
AFLW Players’ MVP, proudly presented by The Line
1. Erin Phillips (204)
2. Karen Paxman (149)
3. Darcy Vescio (132
Most Courageous, proudly presented by Bob Jane T-Marts
1. Chelsea Randall (80)
2. Brianna Davey (57)
3. Jessica Dal Pos (22)
Best Captain, proudly presented by KPMG
1. Daisy Pearce (63)
2. Erin Phillips (30)
3. Emma Zielke (27)
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 comprising 54 players across the 18 teams.
In the second round of voting, all players vote for their MVP on a 3, 2, 1 basis from the nominees of the 17 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 Most Courageous, but every captain is automatically nominated for the Best Captain Award.