Williamstown ball-winner Jess Duffin capped a stellar individual season by winning the Lambert-Pearce Medal for 2018’s best and fairest Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s player at Monday’s VFL Best & Fairest night at Crown Palladium.
The 29-year-old former Collingwood AFL Women’s player and 2019 North Melbourne AFLW signing polled 23 votes to finish six votes ahead of Darebin Falcons ruck Lauren Pearce (17), with NT Thunder captain Angela Foley (16), Carlton goalkicker Darcy Vescio (15) and Hawthorn skipper Emma Mackie (15) rounding out the top five on the leaderboard.
163cm Duffin ranked first in the VFLW this year for total disposals (averaging 25 per game), uncontested possessions (12), marks (5.5) and rebound-50s (four) and third for contested possessions (13) and inside-50s (four) as well as kicking 13 goals across her 13 matches.
She is the first Lambert-Pearce Medallist to come from a team that didn’t make the finals (the Seagulls finished 11th with a record of 4-10), with previous winners Katie Brennan (2017) and Daisy Pearce (2016) coming from Darebin VFLW premiership teams.
Also an elite-level cricketer, Duffin polled in all but one of her appearances this season, producing five three-vote performances as well as one two-vote and six one-vote efforts.
She held the lead in voting – either outright or shared – from Round 6 to Round 12 before falling one vote behind Foley following Round 13 (14 votes to 15). Duffin then finished the home-and-away season with three straight best-on-ground performances – all Seagulls victories – to have the honour secured with one round to play.
Her three-vote performances included:
- 22 disposals, eight marks and one goal in an 18-point loss to Collingwood in Round 1;
- 33 disposals, six marks, five tackles and one goal in a 31-point win against Richmond in Round 4;
- 30 disposals and one goal in a one-point win against Richmond in Round 14;
- 28 disposals and 11 tackles in a 28-point win against Essendon in Round 15; and
- 18 disposals, six marks and three goals in a 38-point win against Melbourne Uni in Round 16.
Duffin played 17 VFLW games and kicked 40 goals for Diamond Creek in 2016 and represented Port Melbourne Colts, Wyndhamvale, St Kilda Sharks and Melbourne University in the Victorian Women’s Football League prior to that.
OTHER AWARD WINNERS INCLUDED:
Rohenna Young Medal / Choose Tap leading goalkicker: Darcy Vescio (Carlton) – 26 goals
Debbie Lee Medal / VFL W Rising Star: Jayde Van Dyk (Hawthorn)
CLICK HERE for the full votes
CLICK HERE for the Team of the Year
CLICK HERE for a full REPLAY of the night
2018 LAMBERT-PEARCE MEDAL LEADERBOARD
|Lauren Pearce||Darebin Falcons||17|
|Angela Foley||NT Thunder||16|
|Ashleigh Riddell||Melbourne Uni||14|
|Mia-Rae Clifford||Geelong Cats||14|
|Nat Exon||Darebin Falcons||13|
|Richelle Cranston||Geelong Cats||11|
|Ellie Blackburn||Western Bulldogs||10|