AFL MEDIA'S chief photographer Michael Willson has broken new ground, claiming the Melbourne Press Club's prestigious Gold Quill on Friday night.
Willson became the first ever photographer to receive the award in its 25-year history for his iconic shot of Tayla Harris' 'The Kick' in last year's NAB AFL Women's competition.
And for the first time in 25 years, the Gold Quill judges have chosen to recognise the journalism behind the lens.— Melbourne Press Club (@MelbPressClub) March 6, 2020
The winner of the 2019 Gold Quill is @MichaelCWillson of @AFL for 'The Kick'. pic.twitter.com/5wa5gErbjg
Judges described the photo of the Carlton forward as "one for the ages" that "turned the tide of public commentary on women's football, women in sport generally, and attitudes to women across society".
The Gold Quill is the highest award on offer at the annual Quill Awards.
The photo, which also collected best sports photograph on Friday night, went viral worldwide, received attention on networks including CNN and BBC and was later immortalised as a statue after Harris fought back publicly to online trolls.
Quill judges went on to praise the photo that "inspired and fuelled a significant growth of young women joining up to play footy".
'The Kick' also received the top prize at the inaugural Women in Sport Photo Action Awards in May last year.
But the 2019 Sports Photograph Quill goes to @MichaelCWillson of @AFL for 'The Kick'. The judges said the photo of @taylaharriss portrayed the athlete’s strength and skill perfectly and became a strong symbol for women in sport.#MPCQuills pic.twitter.com/MiTqrfwDlw— Melbourne Press Club (@MelbPressClub) March 6, 2020