Midfielder Claudia Whitfort has taken out her maiden Gold Coast SUNS AFLW Club Champion following a stellar 2023 campaign.

After finishing third in Season Seven, Whitfort clinched the club’s highest honour with 322 votes ahead of Season Seven Club Champion Charlie Rowbottom (270) and 2023 All-Australian Squad member Daisy D’Arcy (255).

In her third season at the SUNS, Whitfort played all 11 matches and ranked in the AFLW’s top echelon in numerous key statistics, averaging 6.5 clearances (5th in the AFLW), 4.3 inside 50s (7th in the AFLW) and 13.5 contested possessions (7th in the AFLW).

The 24-year-old established herself as a prolific ball winner in 2023, recording 25+ disposals on five occasions highlighted by dominant display in Round 9 which included 34 disposals, five tackles and a goal.

Whitfort’s inaugural Club Champion comes after she finished joint second in the AFLW Best & Fairest Medal count at last week’s W Awards and a career-high seventh in the AFL Coaches’ Association AFLW Champion Player of the Year award.

Defending Club Champion Rowbottom notched her third top-two finish in as many seasons in the competition while Daisy D’Arcy edged out tough competition for her first top-three finish since 2021.

Just four votes separated four players with Jac Dupuy (fourth, 252 votes) and Lucy Single and Alison Drennan (equal fifth, 251) narrowly missing the podium.

The Club Champion Award was voted on by the AFLW coaching panel, with the Head Coach and three Assistant Coaches assigning players a score from one to 10 based on their efforts during each particular game. The maximum votes a player can receive from any one match is 40 votes.

2023 Club Champion Award Winners:

Club Champion: Claudia Whitfort
Club Champion Runner-Up: Charlie Rowbottom
Club Champion Third Place: Daisy D’Arcy
Players’ Player – Presented by Mackay Regional Council: Maddy Brancatisano
Most Professional – Presented by Kool Beanz SUNS: Maddy Brancatisano
Coach’s Award – Presented by GANDEN: Bess Keaney
Leading Goalkicker – Presented by SIXT: Jamie Stanton
Player of the Series (Autumn Series): Jac Dupuy

2023 AFLW Club Champion Top 10:

  1. Claudia Whitfort (322)
    2. Charlie Rowbottom (270)
    3. Daisy D’Arcy (255)
    4. Jac Dupuy (252)
    =5. Lucy Single (251)
    =5. Alison Drennan (251)
    7. Bess Keaney (238)
    8. Maddy Brancatisano (234)
    9. Niamh McLaughlin (225)
    10. Lauren Ahrens (221)