Versatile youngster Eloise Ashley-Cooper has capped a remarkable rise to earn a maiden Essendon VFLW Best and Fairest medal.

Ashley-Cooper, who turned 21 earlier this month, claimed the Bombers' highest individual honour on 259 votes ahead of consistent defender Alex Morcom (242), star midfielder Alana Barba (234) and former AFLW players Mia-Rae Clifford (215) and Cecilia McIntosh (213).

Ashley-Cooper becomes the youngest winner of the Bombers' VFLW Best and Fairest in its short history, in a season that also saw her elevated to the team's leadership group as the youngest in the contingent.

She has been held in the highest regard by her peers this season, having also claimed the player-voted Don of the Year award and trainer-voted Best Club Person award for best upholding the team's values.

Eloise Ashley-Cooper is a much-loved and respected teammate. (Photo: Celie Hay)

Growing up in Finley in regional New South Wales, Ashley-Cooper's focus was on netball until in 2017 a close friend convinced her to join the local girls’ football team.

In her first football game for Finley, Ashley-Cooper’s talent was identified by Murray Bushrangers in the then-TAC Cup, seeing her quickly progress into the Eastern Allies side for the 2018 AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships.

After relocating to Melbourne to study a Bachelor of Law at the Australian Catholic University, Ashley-Cooper was then convinced by Essendon's head coach Brendan Major to join his VFLW side ahead of the 2019 season.

She became one of the first picked in Major's side this season, performing consistently as an inside midfielder and then half-back to feature in every game as the Bombers reached a preliminary final in their maiden finals series.

Major said Ashley-Cooper was a worthy winner.

"She's worked really hard over the last couple of seasons to really develop her game," Major said.

"Her professionalism has shone through and her fitness has improved dramatically. She's always had a good base in that and a strong work ethic, but she's taken that to another level this year.

"Her consistency across all games was probably what got her over the line. She's one of those players who turns up every week, does her job and competes really hard. When you combine that with neat skills, it makes her a deserving winner.

"She's an exceptional young leader. She acquitted herself really well and that just shows her maturity, which is far ahead of her age. She's really well respected among the playing group for many reasons."

Fellow youngster Barba, who last week earned an AFLW contract with Gold Coast, was duly recognised for her stellar season in midfield, claiming the Most Valuable Young Player award in addition to her third-placed finish.

Alana Barba starred this season to claim multiple awards. (Photo: AFL Photos)

Captain Georgia Nanscawen earned Best Finals Player honours, having averaged 27 disposals and 12 tackles across the Bombers' three finals matches.

Clifford dominated her first season in the red and black, booting 16 goals to win the Leading Goalkicker award.

Dons Digital intern Celie Hay was recognised for her outstanding output and cultural impact, voted by the players as the Liberty Legend - an award dedicated to the incredible and selfless volunteers who give their all to the team.

The club congratulates all award winners in what was a history-making season for the VFLW Bombers.

04:26 Mins
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VFLW | 2021 season recap

Look back on a history-making season for the VFLW Bombers.

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2021 ESSENDON VFLW AWARD WINNERS

B&F - TOP 10

After each game this season, each of the five Essendon VFLW coaches allocated 1-5 votes per player. The maximum votes a player could receive each game was 25.

1st - Eloise Ashley-Cooper (259 votes)
2nd - Alex Morcom (242)
3rd - Alana Barba (234)
4th - Mia-Rae Clifford (215)
5th - Cecilia McIntosh (213)
6th - Marianna Anthony (212)
7th - Kendra Heil (205)
=8th - Nat MacDonald, Courtney Ugle (204)
10th - Georgia Nanscawen (203)

Best Club Person
Winner: Eloise Ashley-Cooper
Determined by: Trainers

Don of the Year
Winner: Eloise Ashley-Cooper
Determined by: Players' votes
Prize: $500 + $1000 to local club, thanks to Fujitsu

Best Finals Player
Winner: Georgia Nanscawen
Determined by: Coaches
Prize: $500, thanks to Fujitsu

Leading Goalkicker
Winner: Mia-Rae Clifford
Prize: $500 Amart voucher

Most Valuable Young Player
Winner: Alana Barba
Determined by: Coaches
Prize: $500 Coles voucher

Liberty Legend
Winner: Celie Hay
Determined by: Players' votes
Prize: $500 Red Balloon voucher