North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos midfielder Ash Riddell has been named the club’s AFLW Best and Fairest on Friday night after an outstanding season in the royal blue and white.

Riddell finished in first place with 158 votes ahead of second-placed Jasmine Garner (147) and captain Emma Kearney (132) in third.

Riddell joined the club as a free agent during the expansion signing period at the end of 2018 after playing with Melbourne University in the VFLW.

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In her fourth AFLW campaign, Riddell took her game to another level, enjoying her best season to date. The 26-year-old was selected in the AFLW All-Australian team and finished third overall in the League Best and Fairest award.

It was a record-breaking season for one of the competition’s top ball-winners. In Round 1, Riddell equalled the AFLW record for disposals in a game with 35 touches and in Round 10 smashed through her own record, gathering 42 disposals in the Kangaroos’ win over West Coast.

The midfielder averaged 29.3 disposals per game and set a new League record for disposals in a season with 322.

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North Melbourne AFLW senior coach Darren Crocker congratulated Riddell on a season to remember.

"Ash’s season was outstanding, her elite preparation across the pre-season set her up for a really strong year," Crocker said.

"From the bounce of the ball in Round 1 to our final game, Ash was an important cog in our midfield. Ash leads by example with her work ethic and is driven to make us a better team.

"This award is thoroughly deserved. Everyone at North Melbourne is excited to see where Ash can take her football in the future."

Last year’s Best and Fairest Garner finished a close second on 147 votes, just 11 votes behind Riddell.

Garner’s form continued to build across the season including a standout performance in Round 7 where the midfielder collected 26 disposals and kicked three goals.

The 27-year-old was named in the 2022 AFLW All-Australian team, the fourth consecutive season Garner has received All-Australian honours. Garner also finished the season as the club’s leading goalkicker with 11 majors.

In her sixth AFLW campaign, captain Kearney placed third on 132 votes.

After illness kept Kearney sidelined for the opening round of the season, the 32-year-old never missed a beat, averaging 19.1 disposals across the rest of the campaign.

Kearney was named the AFLW All-Australian captain, becoming the first player in AFLW history to earn six consecutive All-Australian selections.

Voting system

The AFLW senior coach rates each player out of 10 points and assistant coaches provide a combined rating for each player worth 10 points, making 20 points the most possible votes in any round.

AFLW Best Young Player Award - Bella Eddey

The Best Young Player Award acknowledges those players who have been making their mark within the club and the AFL in the last two years. Players must be under 22 at the first game of the season to qualify for this award and previous award winners cannot win multiple times. This award is voted by the NMFC coaching staff. 

AFLW Shinboner of the Year Award - Emma Kearney

The Shinboner of the Year award epitomises the club values – real, bold, belonging and never beaten. Each week the players nominate who they believe stands for the Shinboner values. This award is a culmination of all Shinboner of the Week awards voted on throughout the year. 

The Mazda Next Level Performer Award - Ash Riddell

Voted by the members and fans, the Mazda Excellence Award acknowledges the player that best illustrated power, toughness, strength and performance.

AFLW Best Clubwoman Award - Nicole Bresnehan

The Clubwoman Award is for the player who epitomises everything about unselfishness, has a team-first attitude, goes beyond the call of duty, not just on the field for the 22 players selected each week, but for the whole playing list and club. This award is voted by the NMFC coaching staff. 

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