Star forward Darcy Vescio has been named Carlton’s inaugural VFLW Best and Fairest winner after an outstanding season.
Crowned with the top honour at the Mantra Bell City Ballroom on Friday evening, Vescio finished the count on 45 votes, ahead of runner-up Kristi Harvey (43) and third-placed Tilly Lucas-Rodd (35).
As one of Carlton’s marquee AFLW signings in 2016, Vescio transitioned to the Club’s first standalone VFLW team following the conclusion of the AFL Women’s competition this year.
After making her debut for the Blues’ VFLW side in the season opener against the Southern Saints, the 25-year-old appeared in nine games and booted 26 majors across the course of the 16-round home and away competition.
Known for her elusive skills up forward, Vescio scored a goal in every match she played, including bags of four against Geelong and Williamstown, and three at Frankston Oval in Round 1.
Saving the best for last, Vescio played a truly match-winning role in the final game of season, collecting 18 disposals, seven marks and kicking a staggering nine goals. This dominant performance against Essendon at Windy Hill saw her leapfrog Darebin’s Hannah Mouncey to claim the 2018 Rohenna Young Medal for being the league’s leading goal kicker.
At the 2018 VFLW Awards, Vescio also took home ‘Goal of the Year’ honours and was named at full forward in the VFLW Team of the Year.
VFLW senior coach Shannon McFerran praised Vescio for her standout season, as well as her team-first attitude.
“Coming into this season Darcy had a strong focus to get the best out of herself, so this achievement is recognition for her hard work and determination,” McFerran said.
“Throughout the course of the year Darcy constantly provided her teammates with an option up forward, and as the season progressed, her leading patterns and contested marking only improved.
“We know she is a creative player and her ability to score from all angles is exciting to watch, but as a coach, I also value the influence she has on her teammates. She naturally brings players into the game and it’s a trait she should be really proud of.
“While Darcy narrowly won the top award, I’d also like to acknowledge our captain and runner-up Kristi Harvey. Kristi had a terrific season and played a number of different roles for us, while Tilly Lucas-Rodd had a very consistent year in the midfield.”
Two additional accolades were also presented on the night, with Harvey receiving the ‘Players’ Player’ award for her leadership and professionalism both on and off the field, while deputy vice-captain Chloe Dalton accepted the ‘Blue Bloods’ award for her dedication to upholding the Club’s values consistently throughout the season.
Carlton’s 2018 VFLW Best and Fairest top ten:
45 Darcy Vescio
43 Kristi Harvey
35 Tilly Lucas-Rodd
31 Natalie Plane
31 Sarah Hosking
27 Gabriella Pound
26 Katelyn Cox
25 Chloe Dalton
24 Kerryn Harrington
22 Courtney Bromage