The AFLW Best and Fairest count looks to be as hotly contested as ever this season, as the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos pull the curtain down on another exciting season.
With new coach Darren Crocker leading the charge, North achieved a sixth-placed finish as it defeated Fremantle in the final round of the season to secure finals football.
Unfortunately, the season ended earlier than the players would have liked, as North suffered defeat in the qualifying finals to Collingwood by just six points.
The Best and Fairest award is well and truly up for grabs after many of North’s players produced successful individual campaigns.
It’s an open race, but North Media looks at some of the top contenders.
The Best and Fairest Award will be announced on Wednesday evening, with updates available via the club's social media accounts from 7pm AEST.
In alphabetical order
A change of role brought the best out of Kaitlyn Ashmore this season, as North’s 2020 leading goal-kicker played most of her football on the wing or off the half-back line in 2021.
While she only kicked one goal for the year, Ashmore upped her output to 13.7 disposals a game and provided leadership and x-factor in the wide areas of the ground.
The 2019 winner once again brilliantly performed her role in arguably the most elite midfield group in the competition.
Averaging 18 disposals and 5 intercepts a game, Bruton was impactful on both sides of the ball all year and was key in kickstarting forays forward from the midfield.
Already racking up the awards in 2021, Jas Garner finished third in the AFLCA Champion Player of the Year Award and earned her third consecutive All-Australian selection.
Playing almost exclusively in midfield this season, she finished as North’s tied leading goal-kicker with 9 majors and averaged over 20 disposals and 5 clearances a game.
In her second year in the AFLW, Ellie Gavalas progressed in leaps and bounds in 2021.
She kicked a career-high 3 goals against Geelong in Round 1 and improved in almost every key midfield metric, following on from her strong 2020 campaign.
Returning to a primary ruck role after playing forward for much of 2020, Emma King re-established herself as one of the best rucks in the competition and earned herself and All-Australian nomination.
She kicked 3 goals in an incredible first quarter performance in Round 1 and won 19.4 hitouts a game as one of the dominant talls in AFLW.
The skipper capped off an excellent season with her fifth All-Australian selection, and is just one of two players to achieve that feat.
Kearney once again averaged over 20 disposals a game, as well as 4 clearances and 9 contested possessions while kicking 4 goals for the season.
Tahlia Randall experienced a breakout year in 2021, with the key-defender earning a nomination for the AFLW 22under22 side.
Randall impressed with her ability to blanket the opposition’s best forward, with her athleticism and quality reading of the game quickly becoming indispensable attributes to a stingy North defence.
Ash Riddell received 10 votes in the AFLW Best and Fairest, more than any other North player, and finished the season with another All-Australian nomination.
Averaging 21.8 disposals a game, Riddell found the football more than any North player over the course of the season, with a club record 33 disposals in Round 9 being the pick of her performances.