It’s no easy feat to claim a best and fairest in your inaugural season, but newly re-signed star Bella Lewis’ journey in blue and gold is just getting started.
In a stunning debut campaign, the pacey midfielder was also nominated for the Rising Star Award in round eight of the AFLW season, taking on a strong Richmond side in a career-best performance of 18 disposals, seven contested possessions, two marks and five tackles.
Lewis then claimed the Best Club Person and Best First-Year Player awards to round out a fine year.
The 19-year-old truly thrived in the 2021 season, also stepping up after the injuries of several key personnel in the Eagles’ engine room, including captain Emma Swanson, Irish superboot Aisling McCarthy and dual All-Australian Dana Hooker.
Her speed and consistent onball work will make her a unique and vital component in the Eagles’ 2022 campaign.
“We don’t want to give her any more awards because the speeches might go for even longer,” AFLW coach Daniel Pratt laughed.
“But we’re rapt to have Bella, she’s in that upper class of players in the competition, we feel."
“As a first year player, to win a club champion award is a great achievement, so it’s going to be a great benefit for us to keep her for as long as we can.
“She’ll keep getting better if she keeps training hard, our job is coaches at a football club is to keep providing a good environment for her, and her job is to keep showing up with the attitude she’s had for the last 12 months.
“She’ll continue to grow and learn and get better at the game, and hopefully she sticks around for her whole career at the footy club.”