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Kate McCarthy wins QWAFL's Best and Fairest

Josie Fielding  September 18, 2017 12:43 PM

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Kate McCarthy initially thought her Brisbane Lions AFLW teammate Samantha Virgo was joking when she informed her she’d won QWAFL’s Best and Fairest award.

The Yeronga Devils midfielder/half forward, with 15 votes, topped the leader board at AFL Queensland’s Grogan Medal Awards last night.

It’s the first time in her AFL career McCarthy has been crowned with such an honour.

“I was really shocked when I got a text from Sam [Virgo] telling me I’d won,” she says.

“I didn’t believe her until I looked at AFL Queensland’s twitter page.”

McCarthy was disappointed she could not receive the award in person. She was unable to attend the awards night due to a pre-planned holiday in Sydney.

The achievement was icing on the cake after an incredible year for the 24-year-old.

“This year in football has been massive for me,” she says.

McCarthy was an integral part of the Lions AFLW inaugural side, who reached the Grand Final earlier this year. Her electrifying speed and energy on field endeared fans young and old.

At the conclusion of the 2017 season she was named in the inaugural All-Australian women’s side.

Only weeks ago, she won the QWAFL premiership with her beloved Yeronga Devils. Twelve months earlier the Devils suffered a heart breaking two-point Grand Final defeat to Coolangatta Tweed.

“I wouldn’t have won the best and fairest without my Yeronga teammates around me,” she says.

The award is due recognition for the high school teacher’s commitment to keep improving.

McCarthy says the last few years she’s worked specifically on improving her kicking, wanting to be more of a goal threat. The statistics speak for themselves.

In her 10 games for the Devils this year she kicked 21 goals, to sit fourth overall in the league. In the 2016 season she booted 17 goals in 15 games.

“I was never known as a goal kicker but this season I felt like I kicked some pretty important goals in games,” she says.

Her AFLW teammates dominated the Best and Fairest leaderboard, with the top five all Brisbane players.

Wilston Grange's Tahlia Randall won QWAFL's Rising Star award. 

“I guess it’s something you would like to see out of your Lions players. That’s where we need to be. We need to be leaders within our team,” McCarthy says.

McCarthy has enjoyed taking on more of a leadership role at the Devils and setting a good example for up and coming players, which they’ve responded to.

“My Yeronga teammates are dedicated, work hard and professional,” she says.

“The standard in QWAFL has improved so much, which is a great sign as the Lions prepare for next season.”

McCarthy is now enjoying some down time, especially her sleep ins as school has broken for term three.

She will return for AFLW pre-season in the coming months.