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Groves-Little claims QWAFL B&F

Gold Coast SUNS Female Academy member Tori Groves-Little has capped off an outstanding draft year by claiming the 2018 QWAFL Best & Fairest honours. 

Groves-Little tied with former Brisbane Lions jet Brittany Gibson for the award on 12 votes after storming home in the back half of the vote count. 

“Totally unexpected, I’m still just over the moon from it,” Groves-Little told goldcoastfc.com.au

“After the first six rounds I had six points and I was leading but then kind of dropped off through the middle of the season.

“For me to get three votes in the last two rounds to put me tied-first, I sat there and was like ‘this isn’t real’, I couldn‘t believe it.”

“It was so unexpected and it’s still so hard to believe because I know there’s a lot of other girls out there that could have deserved it.”

At 17, Groves-Little is the youngest player to win the QWAFL Best & Fairest, but what makes the achievement even more remarkable is the fact she played in less than 50% of Coorparoo’s matches (eight out of 17).

After missing the first four rounds with a groin injury sustained during the National Academy camp in Melbourne, Groves-Little made her senior debut in Round 5.

She then missed more games while representing SUNS in the Winter Series and Queensland in the NAB AFLW Under 18 Championships for a second consecutive year.

Groves-Little said it was hard to sacrifice her club football for representative football, but knows it’s important she does everything possible to secure her future.

Her win capped off a successful night for Coorparoo, with teammate and fellow SUNS Winter Series representative Jenae Govantaking out the award for QWAFL leading goal-kicker with her 33 majors this season.

Both Govan and Groves-Little were named in the QWAFL team of the year in the forward line.

They were joined by Gold Coast’s Winter Series captain Beth Pinchin, Maddy Roberts, Jamie Stanton, Emma McKenzie, Lauren Bella (SUNS Academy), Paige Parker and Delma Gisu (equal fourth in B&F) in the side.

Parker also won the 2018 Winter Series Development Player award at the SUNS Club Champion two weeks ago.

At the AFL Cairns awards night, SUNS Academy and Winter Series player Kitara Farrar was named as the Women’s Best and Fairest winner after a successful season with South Cairns.

Fellow Winter Series member Sodyla Kris claimed the Players’ Player award while her North Cairns coach and Gold Coast teammate Luana Healey was also recognised as 2018’s Women’s Coach of the Year.

In the AFL Townsville awards a few weeks ago, another Academy and Winter Series member Madison Goodwin took out the Best & Fairest.

“It’s fantastic to see so many players from our 2018 Winter Series team winning awards in their state leagues,” Winter Series coach Michael Gugliotta told goldcoastfc.com.au.

“Tori’s had a great year development-wise and to win the QWAFL Best & Fairest at just 17 years old is a tremendous achievement for her heading into this year’s AFLW draft.

“These results just show that female talent in both the Gold Coast and North Queensland regions is very strong and growing each year as the SUNS ‘Get Set’ for the 2020 AFLW season.”