By ZAC MILBANK
Norwood superstar Najwa Allen has left a lasting first impression on the Statewide Super Women’s League after winning the 2019 Best and Fairest Award.
Recruited from Canberra in the off-season, the prolific midfielder polled 17 votes to edge out Redlegs running machine Monique Hollick who was runner-up with 14.
Fellow Norwood player Hannah Dunn made it a red-and-blue trifecta when she placed third with 13 votes.
Averaging a stunning 25.4 disposals, five marks and three clearances in her inaugural SANFL Women’s campaign, Allen also had an impact on the scoreboard with seven goals for the season.
The 24-year-old polled five first preferences from the umpires, including three in the last four matches to leapfrog team-mates Hollick and Dunn, who were joint leaders at the end of Round 6 with 10 votes.
Having missed out on votes in Round 9, Allen led by just one heading into Round 10, where she attracted her fifth first preference while collecting 29 disposals against Central to put the result beyond doubt.
Allen capped a fine season by being named as the ruck rover in The Advertiser SANFL Women’s Team of the Year, while also being handed the vice-captaincy.
She also impressed those trying to plot her downfall throughout the minor round by winning the 2019 SANFL Women’s Coaches Trophy.
Athletic Panthers midfielder Czenya Cavouras was the best non-Redleg on 12 votes while North Adelaide co-captain Nadia Von Bertouch and Bloods ball magnet Abbie Ballard rounded out the players to attract double figures.
Najwa Allen (Norwood) 17
Monique Hollick (Norwood) 14
Hannah Dunn (Norwood) 13
Czenya Cavouras (South) 12
Nadia Von Bertouch (North) 11
Abbie Ballard (West) 10
Jaimi Tabb (Eagles) 9
Chelsea Biddell (West) 9
Teah Charlton (South) 9
“The display of skill, intensity and passion in SANFL Women’s continues to grow and we recognise Najwa Allen as the 2019 Statewide Super Women’s League Best and Fairest player,” said SANFL CEO Jake Parkinson.
“Congratulations also must go to star forward Kelly Barltrop, who has set a new benchmark as the competition’s leading goal kicker, booting an incredible 26 goals in just 10 matches and surpassing the previous record of 15 goals.”
The 2019 SANFL Statewide Super League saw all eight SANFL Clubs represented for the first time, with Woodville-West Torrens and Central District football clubs making their debut this year.
The Grand Final will be played this Sunday, May 26 at 4pm at ACH Group Stadium between reigning premier South Adelaide and North Adelaide.
Mr Parkinson said the SANFL Women’s competition – with total prizemoney of $20,000 awarded to the Grand Finalists – provided an aspirational pathway for the thousands of girls and women now playing competition football across the State.
“The rise of female participation continues at pace, with over 7,000 females registered at clubs to date this year – 1,155 more than at the same time in 2018,” Mr Parkinson said.
“We now have a clear pathway for female footballers from the grassroots level right through to the SANFL Statewide Super Women’s League.”
Statewide Super Chief Executive Officer Tony D’Alessandro said Statewide Super was thrilled to see the SANFL Women’s competition grow to an historic eight teams in only its third season.
“We are incredibly proud to be the naming rights sponsor of the SANFL Statewide Super Women’s League and to share in what was another great season this year,” Mr D’Alessandro said.
“As South Australia’s local industry fund this partnership is a natural fit for us. The Women’s players are inspirational ambassadors who have played a huge role in the growth of football at a State League level.
“With unprecedented growth in female football, there is still much to be done when it comes to fostering and continuing the growth of women in sport and Statewide Super hopes to lead the conversation.”
Norwood’s Najwa Allen added to her list of accolades in 2019 when she claimed the SANFL Women’s Coaches Trophy.
The former GWS AFLW midfielder polled 68 votes, 20 ahead of her nearest rival in North Adelaide co-captain Nadia Von Bertouch.
Fellow Redlegs Monique Hollick and Hannah Dunn rounded out the top four while South had three players – Czenya Cavours, Teah Charlton and Hannah Munyard – attract at least 30 votes.
Votes are collated from the SANFL Women’s coaches after each game throughout the minor round.
Najwa Allen (Norwood) 68
Nadia Von Bertouch (North) 48
Monique Hollick (Norwood) 39
Hannah Dunn (Norwood) 38
Czenya Cavouras (South) 34
Teah Charlton (South) 30
Hannah Munyard (South) 30
Caitlin Gould (Glenelg) 30
North Adelaide’s Kelly Barltrop was a comfortable winner of the 2019 ISC Leading Goalkicker Award.
Booting 26 majors across the minor round, the former Adelaide United Goalkeeper was a significant 12 goals ahead of her nearest rival in West Adelaide’s Chelsea Biddell on 14.
Norwood veteran Jo Hill and West’s Melanie Elsegood were the other two players to reach double figures.
Barltrop broke the record for most goals kicked in a SANFL Women’s season, which was previously held by former Rooster Katelyn Rosenzweig who kicked 15 last year.
The 26-year-old, who was only held goalless in two matches, booted two hauls of five goals – against Sturt in Round 2 and the Eagles in Round 8.
Kelly Barltrop (North) 26
Chelsea Biddell (West) 14
Jo Hill (Norwood) 10
Melanie Elsegood (West) 10
Katelyn Rosenzweig (Central) 9
Kiana Lee (Eagles) 9
Madison Bennett (South) 9
Monique Hollick (Norwood) 9
Ellen Fauser (Glenelg) 9