- Monique Conti has won best and fairest
- Richmond star dazzled in 2023
- She stormed to victory on Monday
Richmond midfielder Monique Conti has stormed to her first ever AFLW best and fairest medal in an emphatic result secured with two rounds remaining in the count.
The cross-code star spent her Sunday in Traralgon on court for the Melbourne Boomers in the WNBL, but on Monday was crowned the AFLW’s best player after bursting away early in the vote count with a series of dominant performances.
Conti, 23, sat atop the leaderboard for the entire night after surging away with an average 27 disposals and a goal per game over the first five rounds.
North Melbourne star Jasmine Garner was tipped to challenge Conti, but just like her dominant 2020 season could not attract the umpire’s attention and trailed the Tiger by nine votes after round 6.
Conti went on to win with 23 votes from a four-way tie for second on 16 votes, which included Garner’s teammate Ash Riddell, who again outpolled her fellow Roo despite Garner taking out the coaches’ association player of the year award last week.
Monique Conti has been crowned the best and fairest player in the AFLW
The Richmond superstar stormed to victory at the awards ceremony on Monday
Conti, 23, sizzled on the red carpet for the glamorous evening in Melbourne
Recruited to the Western Bulldogs ahead of the competition’s second season before joining Richmond for its inaugural campaign, Conti also claimed her fifth All-Australian blazer and could add to her haul of awards with the AFL Players’ Association MVP on Tuesday night.
Conti had the award sewn up by the end of round 8 after she was given three votes for her 35-disposal game against Hawthorn, moving seven votes clear of her nearest rival.
The mathematics were lost on the crowd at Crown Palladium, with little celebration from even the Tigers table until the result sunk in when the count resumed for the next round.
‘I’m sweating right now and shaking … it’s amazing,’ Conti said after being presented the medal.
‘I was just sitting there trying to do the maths, and I had (Tigers captain) Katie Brennan staring at me the whole time which made me even more nervous.
‘(I knew) I had a pretty good game, last game, we had an amazing win. I was so happy to finish on that (claiming three votes).’
Conti, who is a cross-code star as she plays basketball, starred for the Tigers in 2023
Conti said while her body ‘sometimes doesn’t feel 23’, she had no plans to stop juggling both football and basketball.
She paid tribute to Richmond teammate and Bendigo Spirit basketballer Tessa Lavey as well as cross-code trailblazer Erin Phillips in her speech.
‘I like to enjoy being on the go all the time, and I think that’s what makes me me. I wouldn’t be the same if I was sitting still, I go from one to the other to keep me going and that’s the way I like it,’ she said.
‘That’s what keeps me going, knowing that I can help create a path for young girls who are being told to choose between one sport or another.’