Sport Carlton’s Madison Prespakis named AFLW’s best player

Carlton’s Madison Prespakis named AFLW’s best player

Carlton's Madison Prespakis took out the AFLW best-and-fairest award on Tuesday. Photo: AAP
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Star Carlton midfielder Madison Prespakis has become the first teenager to collect the AFLW’s best-and-fairest award.

Last year’s Rising Star winner only got better in her second season, polling 15 votes to finish three ahead of Fremantle’s tackling machine Kiara Bowers.

The 19-year-old joins dual winner Erin Phillips and North Melbourne’s Emma Kearney to have taken out the league’s highest individual honour.

“I got to sit next to Erin Phillips with my Rising Star medal last year and see her take it ,so it’s crazy my name can be on the same list as those two girls,” Prespakis said.

Kearney, who claimed the medal while playing for the Western Bulldogs in 2018, finished third in the count.

Prespakis found out from home she was the AFLW’s dominant player in the competition’s fourth season after a streamed broadcast of the awards due to coronavirus restrictions.

It capped off a spectacular sophomore campaign, with Prespakis also winning the Blues’ best-and-fairest for the second time, and on Monday night she was named as an onballer in the All-Australian team.

She averaged 21 possessions during Carlton’s six regular-season matches, incredibly collecting the maximum three votes in five of those games.

After her breakout 2019 season, the former No.3 draft pick prepared herself for extra attention on the field this year.

“I was able to put it aside, but take it as a great compliment and just try and enjoy the footy my way,” Prespakis said.

“I spoke with my coaches and a few of my teammates about it.

“They had my back and helped me work through some different ways to get around a tagger and make sure I was OK with it all.

“It’s definitely been a year that I won’t forget. It’s been a great two years, and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead.”

Prespakis has been working casually with a freight company after the AFLW season prematurely ended in March due to the threat of COVID-19.

The Blues defeated Brisbane in their semi-final, but no premier was named because of the unprecedented circumstances of the pandemic’s impact on Australian sport.

Meanwhile, Western Bulldogs defender Isabel Huntington was named the 2020 AFLW Rising Star.

Huntington, 21, received 33 of a possible 40 votes from the eight-person voting panel – including the maximum five votes from five panellists – to claim the award ahead of St Kilda’s Caitlin Greiser (30 votes) and Georgia Patrikios (24) and Gold Coast’s Kalinda Howarth (24).

Huntington started her AFLW games as a forward but switched to defence full-time this season under new coach Nathan Burke.

The move paid off in spades as Huntington averaged 13 disposals, 4.8 marks (2.2 contested) and 8.4 intercept possessions across her five games and received her first All-Australian berth.

“I’ve really loved it and I’ve got some great people to learn from down there,” Huntington told AAP.

“It’s been a nice move down and I think it’s been able to help me build some confidence back and play with a bit of freedom.”