Ally Anderson takes home AFLW’s best and fairest

Brisbane Lion Ally Anderson says she is “shocked” and in “disbelief” over her surprise AFLW best and fairest victory.

Remarkably, Anderson became the first winner in AFLW history not to make the All-Australian team, and finished 11th in the AFL Coaches’ Association (AFLCA) Champion player award.

She is also the second Brisbane Lion to win the award over the last two seasons, following teammate Emily Bates earlier this year.

Asked if she had considered herself a chance of winning the medal, Anderson replied “not even a little bit”.

“Obviously, if you watched my speech, I wasn’t very prepared,” she told a press conference after the count.

“So I probably didn’t sound great on stage, but I just had absolutely no idea [I would win].”

Reflecting on her omission from the All-Australian team, the 28-year-old was typically humble.

“I guess it was disappointing [to miss out],” she said.

“But I was so happy for my teammates who made it, so at the end of the day it didn’t really matter to me.

“I guess I had a consistent year, but I was surrounded by such great teammates, and that’s sort of what got me over the line.”

A proud Ghangalu woman, Anderson also becomes the second First Nations player to take out the AFLW’s highest individual honour, after Dja Dja Wurrung woman Maddy Prespakis in 2020.

Anderson said the cultural significance of her win had hit her after teammate Courtney Hodder congratulated her with a hug.

“I was just sort of like, oh yeah, I’m the first Indigenous Brisbane Lions player to wear this medal,” Anderson said.

“It’s such an exciting feeling. It makes me really proud, and you know, if young girls can sort of look at me and be like, that’s a pathway that they want to take, then that means a lot to me.”

Anderson finished the count on 21 votes, two ahead of the hot favourite, Richmond midfielder Mon Conti.

The Brisbane midfielder began the final round of the count one vote ahead of Conti, before Conti polled two votes for her game against North Melbourne.

But, in a thrilling finish, Anderson was awarded best on ground for her 26-possession game against Collingwood, leapfrogging Conti. It was her third three-vote performance in a row to round out a barnstorming end to the season.

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