AFLW Team of the Year: Who makes the cut?

WOMENS.AFL has named a Team of the Week for every round of the NAB AFLW home and away season. 

With that having now drawn to a close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the time has come to crown a womens.afl Team of the Year. 

The selection criteria was simple. Those with the most nominations filled the bulk of the spots, with the last five players chosen by referring to womens.afl's 3-2-1 reporter voting due to receiving an equal number of nominations as others.

Let the debate begin!

DEFENDERS

Libby Birch (Melbourne), Isabel Huntington (Western Bulldogs), Stacey Livingstone (Collingwood), Kate Lutkins (Brisbane), Jade Pregelj (Gold Coast)

Birch and Livingstone have been two of the competition's best lockdown defenders this season. 

Lutkins' skills as a rebound/sweeping defender are well known, but Huntington showed she belonged in the conversation with the forward's first season behind the ball. 

It may have been Pregelj's first season at the top level, but the veteran showed she hadn't lost her footy smarts, developed as a gun junior before her absence from the game.

Kate Lutkins was a very worthy winner of the first QClash Medal. Picture: AFL Photos

MIDFIELDERS

Parris Laurie (West Coast, ruck), Kiara Bowers (Fremantle), Jaimee Lambert (Collingwood), Alyce Parker (GWS), Karen Paxman (Melbourne), Maddy Prespakis (Carlton)

As the sole woman to have been nominated twice in the ruck position, Laurie takes out the team of the year honours in a difficult year for the Eagles. 

Bowers managed to break her own tackling record with a game to spare in 2020, Lambert shot out of the blocks with a particularly powerful first month, while Parker completely dominated games at either end of the season. 

Paxman continued to accumulate the ball at will and use it well and Prespakis seemed to make it her personal mission to will the Blues past the post on multiple occasions.

Star Demon snaps outstanding goal in the wet

00:32 Feb 14. 2020. 9:00 PM

Midfielder Karen Paxman gives Melbourne a handy early lead in the opening term

FORWARDS

Sabreena Duffy (Fremantle), Jasmine Garner (North Melbourne), Kalinda Howarth (Gold Coast), Caitlin Greiser (St Kilda), Tayla Harris (Carlton)

The young forwards dominated the competition in 2020, with Duffy, Howarth and Greiser – the AFLW's leading goalkicker – all kicking bags at times.

Harris' marking – and yes, her groundwork – was crucial to Carlton's success this year and she averaged just over a goal a game. 

And what more can be said about the unstoppable Garner? The Roo was equally dangerous up forward as she was in the midfield.

Crafty Duffy crumbs and goals

00:49 Mar 8. 2020. 6:09 PM

Sabreena Duffy shows off some great craft in the forward line to snare her third goal

INTERCHANGE

Anne Hatchard (Adelaide), Kate Hore (Melbourne), Emma Kearney (North Melbourne), Phoebe Monahan (Richmond), Ash Riddell (North Melbourne)

Hatchard averaged 25.3 disposals, the highest in the league, while Monahan had the second-highest metres gained in the competition rebounding for Richmond. 

The pairing of Kearney and Riddell in North Melbourne's midfield caused angst for many a side, and Hore's run and dash was vital for Melbourne in attack.

Speed Demon runs the length of the Flemington straight and snaps truly

00:43 Mar 14. 2020. 10:31 PM

Kate Hore puts her hand up for potential Goal of the Year with a brilliant running effort and snap