Women's Footy

Nikki Nield wins 2024 SANFLW Best and Fairest

South Adelaide's Nikki Nield receives her 2024 SANFLW Best and Fairest Medal from SA Football Commission Chairman Rob Kerin. Picture - David Mariuz


A fairytale homecoming for South Adelaide’s Nikki Nield is a step closer after winning the 2024 Hostplus SANFLW League Best and Fairest Award in a pulsating count at Adelaide Oval on Monday night.

The first Panther to win the most prestigious individual SANFLW prize, Nield (nee Gore) hit the lead in Round 13 when she polled three votes against Glenelg, to leapfrog competition pacesetter, Tiger Jess Bates.

Polling a total of 27 votes after landing another two in the final minor round match, Nield finished three ahead of 2022 SANFLW Best and Fairest Bates, who missed the last two matches with a foot injury.

Named ruck rover in The Advertiser SANFLW Team of the Year, Nield will be aiming to finish her 2024 campaign in style by playing in her third premiership with South Adelaide on Saturday July 6.

Returning to Noarlunga after playing with AFLW clubs Adelaide and Fremantle, the 23-year-old attracted the umpires’ attention in all but two of her minor round matches to illustrate her exceptional consistency.

South’s No.2 was adjudged best afield on six occasions – in Rounds 1, 3, 9, 11, 12 and 13 as she finished with significant momentum heading into the SANFLW major round.

A dual title-winning midfielder with the Panthers in 2018 and 2019, Nield claimed the Powerade Breakthrough Player award in 2018 as the competition’s most promising player aged under 21 at the start of the season.

Averaging 22 disposals, four clearances and four marks per game, Nield also displayed her willingness to defend by averaging an outstanding 10 tackles per game in 2024.

Starting her career with the Christies Beach Football Club, Nield was a talented surfer before choosing to concentrate on her football journey.

Making her debut for South in 2018, Nield is fast approaching her 50-game milestone with the Panthers, having appeared in 41 matches.

Sturt sensation India Rasheed placed third with 19 votes while retiring Central District premiership skipper Shelby Smith was fourth on 17, three ahead of West ball magnet Zoe Venning, who rounded out the top five.

2024 SANFLW Best and Fairest – Nikki Nield (South Adelaide). Picture – Cory Sutton

2024 SANFLW Best and Fairest Leaderboard

Kia Coaches Award

Glenelg’s Jess Bates added to her lengthening list of accolades by claiming honours in the 2023 SANFLW Kia Coaches Award.

Cruising to victory with 91 votes ahead of runner-up Nikki Nield (South) on 69 votes, Bates’ win becomes even more meritorious considering she missed the final two matches of the season with a foot injury.

Not only did the 28-year-old earned the ultimate respect of the SANFLW coaches she was also runner-up in the 2024 SANFL Best and Fairest Award whilst also being named in The Advertiser SANFLW Team of the Year.

Attracting votes in all of her 12 outings this season, the Bays’ prolific ball-winner earned the highest praise of the SANFLW mentors by being named best afield with maximum votes in Round 1, 3, 6 and 9.

Bates wins a $500 cash prize and a trophy courtesy of Kia.

Behind Nield in second place, Sturt sensation India Rasheed placed third with 64 votes while Central District premiership captain Shelby Smith was fourth with 57 votes.

Norwood’s Jade Halfpenny (54 votes) and Eagle Poppy Waterford (52 votes) rounded out the top six placings.

Player SANFL Club Votes
Jess Bates Glenelg 91
Nikki Nield South Adelaide 69
India Rasheed Sturt 64
Shelby Smith Central District 57
Jade Halpenny Norwood 54
Poppy Waterford Woodville-West Torrens 52

Glenelg’s Jess Bates in full flight Picture – Cory Sutton

AAMI Leading Goal Kickers

Central District’s Katelyn Rosenzweig and South Adelaide’s Emily Brockhurst are joint winners of the 2024 AAMI Leading Goal Kicker Award.

Each booting 25 goals across the minor round, Rosenzweig and Brockhurst created history as it is the first time the SANFLW League has had joint winners of the prestigious trophy.

Rosenzweig led the race for the majority of the minor round until Brockhurst equalled the tally with an eye-catching goal against the Bulldogs in Round 14.

Amazingly, Brockhurst’s 25th major came early in the fourth quarter of their final clash before the major round, creating an exciting finish.

It is the third time Rosenzweig has won the SANFLW Leading Goal Kicker trophy, having also saluted in 2018 while playing with North Adelaide and last year with the Bulldogs.

Originally from the Hamley Bridge Football Club, Rosenzweig was also selected at full forward in The Advertiser SANFLW Team of the Year.

Brockhurst, who booted 63 goals for Flagstaff Hill last year, made a fairytale return to SANFLW ranks in 2024 with the Panthers, claiming her first Leading Goal Kicker Award whilst earning selection in the forward pocket of The Advertiser SANFLW Team of the Year.

Rosenzweig and Brockhurst were both awarded $500 cash prizes courtesy of AAMI.

Player SANFL Club Total Goals (Minor Round)
Katelyn Rosenzweig Central District 25
Emily Brockhurst South Adelaide 25
Kiana Lee Norwood 16
Jasmine Evans Central District 15
Eloise Mackereth Glenelg 13

2024 Joint AAMI Leading Goal Kicker – Central’s Katelyn Rosenzweig. Picture – Cory Sutton

2024 Joint AAMI Leading Goalkicker – South’s Emily Brockhurst. Picture – Cory Sutton

SA Power Networks Leadership Award

Woodville-West Torrens captain Annie Falkenberg has won the SA Power Networks Leadership Award after being nominated by the Eagles for her outstanding team-first approach in 2024.

Introduced in 2021, the SA Power Networks Leadership Award recognises players for their off-field attitude as much as their on-field achievements.

Retiring Sturt skipper Maya Rigter, won the inaugural award while Norwood captain Alison Ferrall claimed honours in 2022 before Double Blues captain Kate Harris last year.

The award was developed from the Female Personal Pathways program – a series of workshops and forums covering leadership, financial and career development, club culture and mental health education.

SANFL clubs nominated a player based on a number of criteria, including demonstrating care in mentoring younger players at their club, inspiring and encouraging personal development and having values that reflect those of their club.

Falkenberg, who was named vice captain of The Advertiser SANFLW Team of the Year and joint vice-captain of the SANFLW State Team, will receive a $1ooo cash prize courtesy of SA Power Networks.

Eagles captain Annie Falkenberg in action this year.  Picture – Peter Argent

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