MELBOURNE’S night of nights took place at the MCG on Monday, with players, coaches, staff and fans gathering to celebrate a historic season for the club.
While the Demons finished 2022 just short of the ultimate success, there were some stellar individual efforts worth recognising at the annual Best and Fairest.
Take a look at the five award winners below.
Trademark Player – Shelley Heath
Shelley Heath is a tough, resilient, team-first footballer, and those qualities are why she has been named Melbourne’s Trademark Player for 2022.
In just her fourth AFLW season, Heath developed into the star many thought she could become, earning a spot in the All-Australian squad for the first time.
The 21-year-old, who stands at just 160cm, took on some enormous tasks this season, negating the oppositions most dangerous players on a weekly basis.
Heath is a fierce competitor who made the small defensive position her own, averaging 4.5 tackles per game.
Third Place (tied) – Tayla Harris
In her first season with the Dees, Tayla Harris made an immediate impact on the field to tie for third spot in the Best and Fairest award.
The former Lion and Blue joined the club with a high profile, yet still managed to exceeded expectations in the red and blue, slotting 18 goals (the second most in the league) throughout the home and away season.
Harris took 24 contested marks in 2022 to lead the competition, with seven of those coming against Brisbane in a performance which earned her maximum votes from the coaches.
While still only 24 years of age, Harris has already played 49 career games and became a four-time All-Australian this season.
Third Place (tied) – Tyla Hanks
Also finishing on 48 votes is last year’s winner, Tyla Hanks.
The 22-year-old, who missed her side’s Round 5 game due to Health and Safety Protocols, had another outstanding season to finish just two votes shy of top spot.
For the second year in a row, Hanks made the All-Australian squad, being recognised as one of the game’s best midfielders.
The former No.6 draft pick, who won the NAB Rising Star last year, averaged 17 disposals and five tackles per game this season, polling a team-high eight votes at the W Awards.
Hanks was one of the most consistent performers in the eyes of the coaches, with her standout game – a 21-disposals effort – coming against the Giants in Round 6.
Runner Up – Lauren Pearce
Lauren Pearce has been as reliable as anyone across the club’s six years in the competition, giving Melbourne’s midfielders first use of the ball week in, week out.
The star ruck earned her second All-Australian selection this year, being recognised for her work in the centre.
As expected, Pearce delivered some incredible numbers in 2022: 14 hit-outs, 13 disposals and five clearances (the fourth most clearances in the league) per game.
At 184cm, her ability to act as a second midfielder and help out at ground level is invaluable for the team, and she was able to set some records throughout the campaign as well.
Pearce’s Round 5 performance against Gold Coast was one of the highlights of the season, becoming the first player in the league’s history to amass 20 disposals and 20 hit-outs in one match.
Winner – Daisy Pearce
For the third time in six years, Daisy Pearce has been crowned Melbourne’s Best and Fairest player.
The skipper doesn’t just lead by example off the field, she puts her best foot forward on the field each week and dominates when she gets the chance.
Averaging 11 disposals per game and booting 13 goals for the season, Pearce stood up every time her side needed her, and even floated down back to help out when times were getting tough.
The 33-year-old was named the best captain in the league last week – acting as a mentor to her teammates – and became a three-time All-Australian, earning her first call-up to that illustrious team since giving birth to twins in 2019.
Pearce booted a career-high five goals against the Dockers in Round 9 to show she is as dangerous as ever, and this award just adds to a lengthy list of accolades for one of the greatest players this competition has seen.
Each player receives a vote from 0-7 after each game, decided by the coaching staff as a collective