The West Coast Eagles will hold their AFLW Club Champion awards at Crown Perth’s Grand Ballroom on Friday night.
Three awards will be presented alongside the Club Champion, including the Club Champion Runner Up, Best Club Person and Best Trademark Player, as voted by the playing group.
The Club Champion is voted by the West Coast Eagles coaching panel, with each player given a score after each round to determine a winner.
Take a look below at some of the top Eagles performers in 2023 who are in the running for the awards.
In her eighth year in the AFLW competition, Eagles’ skipper Emma Swanson produced one of her most impressive and consistent seasons to date. Swanson was an inspiration for her young and developing teammates, leading by example week in and week out, performing at an incredibly high level on-field, and further solidifying herself as a role model for those around her. The 28-year-old averaged 22.1 touches per game, more than her Club Champion-winning total of 21.5 in season seven, and just 0.01 less than her career-best. In the final game of the season, Swanson recorded her 1000th disposal, tallying her touches across her time at Greater Western Sydney and West Coast. Swanson’s work on and off the field certainly puts her in contention for multiple awards on Friday night.
Thrilling teenage talent Ella Roberts has been a shining light for West Coast this season. She was nominated for the Rising Star in round one after an impressive game against Fremantle, finishing with 24 touches, four marks and four tackles, and was also awarded the AFLW RAC Derby medal for her efforts, the first Eagle to ever win it. Roberts went on to produce multiple best-on performances for her team, her skill and class a pleasure to watch in what was a challenging season. Winning Best First Year Player last year, Roberts has continued to grow and develop at an exciting rate and will be a favourite for this season’s Club Champion.
Key forward Kellie Gibson had a dominant season on the scoreboard, finishing with 12 majors, the most goals kicked by an Eagle in an AFLW season, and her personal career best. Gibson was a strong and effective target for her teammates inside 50, kicking multiple goals on three occasions, including two goals in her 50th AFLW game in round 10. Returning from an ACL injury that saw her sidelined from round one last season, Gibson elevated her game to another level in 2023 and played a pivotal role in West Coast’s forward line.
2023 has been a break-out year for Charlie Thomas, the emerging young defender solidifying herself as a stable and reliable pillar in the Eagles backline. Thomas finished in the top five in the League for rebound 50s this season, her pace and determination in the back half leading to numerous defining moments throughout the season. Thomas displayed additional versatility to her game in round nine, when she was moved forward and had an immediate impact, kicking the first goal of her AFLW career. The 20-year-old has a bright future ahead of her and will be well and truly in the running for this season’s Club Champion.
A stalwart of the AFLW competition, Dana Hooker continues to provide leadership and influence over her younger teammates. Playing her eighth season in the League, Hooker has had an equal career-best year for tackling, averaging 7.3 per games, laying an incredible 14 tackles in the Eagles’ round eight upset win over Essendon. Hindered by an elbow injury in the second half of the season, Hooker didn’t let it affect her on-field performances, continuing to deliver for her team around the ground on a weekly basis.
One of the most consistent performers for West Coast in 2023, defender Sophie McDonald showed off her determination against some of the toughest forwards in the competition this season. McDonald had a tough task each week but showed she was up for challenge, regularly negating the impact of damaging opposition goal-kickers. The Albany local has gone from strength to strength since joining the Eagles ahead of the 2020 season, and will play a pivotal role in the Eagles backline next season and beyond. McDonald should be a contender for this season’s All Australian squad and could be called to the stage for numerous honours on Friday night.
Experienced defender, and current Eagles’ AFLW games record-holder Belinda Smith has had a career-best season in the blue and gold. Averaging 15.5 disposals and four marks per game in 2023, Smith played her role to perfection throughout the year, demonstrating excellent leadership on-field and paving the way for her fellow emerging teammates in defence. Smith was actively involved in the design process of West Coast’s 2023 Pride Round jumper, a passionate contributor to the club in more ways than one.