Essendon will crown the winner of its second ever AFLW Best and Fairest at Crown this Thursday night.  

With strong individual campaigns set to be rewarded, here are some of the names in the running to come home with top honours.  

Maddy Prespakis 

Avgs: 26 disposals, five tackles, five clearances
11 games
Key performance: 33 disposals, six clearances v Geelong, round six 

Last year’s Best and Fairest winner, Prespakis backed it up in 2023 with another terrific campaign. 

A key cog in the Bombers’ midfield unit with her toughness and polished ball use, Prespakis is a strong chance to make it two from two on Thursday night.


Stephanie Wales 

Avgs: 21 hitouts, 12 disposals, three clearances
11 games
Key performance: 33 hitouts, 16 disposals v Richmond, round seven 

One of the emerging ruck talents in the game, Stephanie Wales continued to blossom in 2023 and should poll strongly on Thursday night. 

The 20-year-old registered career-highs in almost every major stat category this season, including a 40-hitout effort against the Eagles in round eight.


Georgia Nanscawen 

Avgs: 18 disposals, eight tackles, five clearances
11 games
Key performance: 20 disposals, 17 tackles v West Coast, round eight 

Georgia Nanscawen’s tenacity in the midfield was integral to the Dons’ improvement in 2023. 

The 31-year-old was outstanding in her club debut, racking up 21 disposals and three AFLW league Best and Fairest votes against the Hawks in round one.  

A spiritual leader for the club, you can expect Nanscawen’s name to feature heavily in the votes.


Sophie Van De Heuvel

Avgs: 13 disposals, three marks
10 games
Key performance: 19 disposals v Geelong, round six 

Sophie Van De Heuvel’s dash off both the wing and half-back propelled many attacks for the Bombers this season.  

The 22-year-old started her season strongly and continued to build her running game, providing six rebound 50’s in the round three clash with the Crows.


Bonnie Toogood 

Avgs: 19 disposals, six marks, five tackles
11 games, 16 goals
Key performance: 23 disposals, eight marks, two goals v Hawthorn, round one 

A focal point for the Bombers’ forward line, Bonnie Toogood enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2023. 

The Co-Captain led the Dons’ goalkicking and topped the league for total marks in a career-best campaign that also saw her lead the side out in its inaugural AFLW final. 

After finishing runner-up in 2022, Toogood is a solid chance to go one better this time around.


Sophie Alexander 

Avgs: 12 disposals, three marks
11 games, eight goal assists
Key performance: 14 disposals, three goals v Carlton, round nine 

Often an underrated performer, Sophie Alexander was consistent throughout her second season with the Bombers.

The versatile 30-year-old played at both ends comfortably in different stages of the season, but made the most of her time forward with a brilliant three-goal haul in her 50th career game.


Thursday night's event will be livestreamed via our website - stay tuned to to watch it all unfold.