In a VFL women’s season in which Williamstown only won four games, Jess Duffin shone like a beacon.
A star recruit for the Seagulls in their inaugural season, Duffin did the unthinkable on Monday night and took out the Lambert-Pearce Medal for best-and-fairest player in the league.
Duffin is a special footballer and a special sportswoman.
She has been a superstar with the Australian cricket team and a star in the AFLW with Collingwood, the team that drafted her, and now North Melbourne, who she moved to in the off season trade period.
Duffin, from Werribee, did not just scoop the Lambert-Pearce Medal, she did it in a canter.
She finished on 23 votes, a massive six ahead of second-placed Lauren Pearce (17), of the Darebin Falcons.
In accepting the award, Duffin put the secret to her success down to sheer hard work.
“I’m really shocked, but happy to be standing up here,” she said.
“You don’t want any personal accolades, you’re more about the team, but when something like this comes up, I’m quite proud of where I’ve come from.”
Still juggling football and cricket, Duffin thanked her clubs for giving her the freedom to move between sports and excel at both.
“Sometimes it isn’t easy,” she said of juggling two sports.
“Not only Cricket Australia, but the football clubs I’ve been at, Collingwood and now North Melbourne, have been really helpful in allowing me to do that.”
If the medal was not enough, Duffin was also honoured with captaincy of the VFLW team of the year.
Duffin is busy preparing for next season’s AFLW competition with expansion team North Melbourne.
“Getting around a new group and shaping a new club, I’m really looking forward to it.”