Throughout the 2022 home and away season, the VFLW coaching panel recognised players who had an impact; who had performed well in each game, and who had contributed to the team’s performance. Of the thirty three players in 2022, twenty five players were given votes, demonstrating the consistency of the squad’s contributions. Four development players, and three NAB players all received votes.
For a second year running, Nicole Callinan received the highest number of votes. Consistently named in the best players in 12 out of the 14 home and away matches, Nic ended up with 111 across the season. Exceptionally fit, experienced and competitive, Nic is impressive in her read of the game, and ability to get to, and impact the contest. In the 2022, Nic showed her versatility, notably transitioning from the wing and playing as an inside midfielder. Conspicuously, Nic kicked the first goal of the season, sparking that comeback in Round 1, and played all but two games for the Falcons.
Gena Lawson Tavan with 92 votes was the season’s runner up. Gena’s impressive pre-season included training with North Melbourne’s AFLW program, and really translated into consistency and competitiveness. Gena played as a key defender, and showing ability to win her own position and step up with leadership across the backline. She also did a cracking job when thrown into ruck role for the last game of the season, being competitive against taller opponents. Read more about Gena’s football journey here
Third place with 85 votes, Ange Gogos had a sensational impact on VFLW in 2022. Ange led across the league in the coaches’ votes before an untimely hand injury mid season. Playing only the first 7 matches, Ange showed her ability to win footy, as well as apply fierce defensive pressure. New to the club in 2022, Ange’s leadership in the midfield was invaluable, with exceptional endurance to have an average of 20 disposals, and 9 tackles per game. Read more about what attracted Ange to play with the Falcons in season 2022.
Sally Lynch also polled well with 51 votes. This was Sally’s first year transitioning from a forward role to a primary ruck position. Due to an outstanding preseason, Sally was fitter and stronger and more competitive. With some specialist help from ruck coach Anna Schwager, Sally was able to use her physicality to win in the contest, even when she was giving away some height to some of the rucks in the competition.
Victoria Blackwood on 46 votes was one of the competition’s best key defenders. The votes showed the Darebin’s back line players polling well as individuals, and equally impressive as a unit. Vic played with competitiveness and confidence, and just did not give up on the contest. Her ability to play tight one on one defence was particularly notable.
Emma Mackay received 33 votes for her excellent season. Another new Falcon, Emma game into her own when she was moved from the wing to a forward position. She used her speed and mobility, often catching opponents out with her dangerous left foot. Her soccer-ing goal in the last few minutes of the round 5 win against Carlton brought a lot of joy to the Falcon fans. With an average of 12 disposals a game, Emma was a consistent contributor.
Alyssa Mifsud finished the season with 29 votes. After finishing the 2021 season in the ruck, Alyssa moved up front this year to do a lot of heavy lifting in the Falcon’s forward line. Alyssa was dangerous deep in the 50 with her one on one contesting, and created some important attacking opportunities and some great goals. Throughout the season, Mifsud showed her game smarts, able to be a key target and support others.
Simone Ruedin with 24 votes was another new for 2022 who was impressive in her first season as a Falcon. Unfortunately kept out of the action a few games with injury, Simone had a great impact. With a consistent 9 disposals per game on average, Simone brought her dependable physicality and competitiveness to the contest. Simone is an incredible athlete, having achieved success in basketball before moving to footy.
Karly McNiece with 21 votes had a terrific season in 2022, and it was particularly pleasing to see her ability to run out the games well after some injury interrupted times. Composed and skilful with the ball, Karly showed some great leadership in the Falcons backline, reading the game really well. Her season stats show her consistency with an average of 10 disposals per game, including 3 marks and 6 kicks.
Lulu Beatty with 18 votes rounded out the Falcon’s top 10 in 2022. Making her VFLW debut in Round 10, Lulu showed her beautiful skills and athleticism. Coming in at 9th overall in her recent 2km time trial at the 2022 NAB AFLW Draft Combine, Lulu is an absolutely talented youngster. Initially playing on the wing for the Falcons, Lulu demonstrating her ability to read the game and versatility. However, it was moving to a more familiar defensive role, where Lulu finished the season with 2 outstanding games.
In an exciting year of footy, these top ten players are recognised for their outstanding seasons.