Auckland Australian Football League hosted their annual league Best & Fairest awards last night.
The AAFL Best & Fairest awards are a ceremony to celebrate and pick the leagues Best & Fairest player, best umpire, best first year player,leading goal kicker, volunteer of the year & coach of the year. It is also a time where they name the "All Auckland" team which is the leagues choice of players who excelled in their positions.
The award ceremony kicked off with round voting for the Best & Fairest where a few Hornets picked up votes. Andrew Azzopardi, Josh MacMahon & Kevin Crowe all picked up votes in rounds 1-4.
Following the votes was the first two awards. First up was Rookie of the Year or Best First year player which was awarded to our very own Kevin Crowe!
The next award was the Golden Boot Trophy for leading goal kicker of the season. Beating second place of 25 goals, Coach and star Full Forward Andrew Azzopardi took out the honours with a tally of 37 goals. The Hornets were 2 of 2 awards from the night.
After a short break we were into the last part of the evening. Votes were given for rounds 5-8 and again the Hornets were picking up votes, Kevin Crowe, Alan Rathbun & Ben Biggelaar all picking up a couple of votes and Elliot Bennetts, Oli Tabaillou and Pete Jones also picking up a vote.
Coach Andrew Azzopardi then won the Coach of the Year award. It came as no surprise really after the tremendous season the Hornet have had which was a complete turnaround from 2016. The award was presented after a congratulatory speech by Umpire Rob Greenwood.
The final rounds saw Andy Cook and James Mackinder as well as Kevin Crowe picking up votes. All up the Hornets had 10 people with votes, which was the 3rd highest in the league. After tallying the votes the highest placed Hornet was Kevin Crowe with 10 votes, only 4 behind the AAFL Best & Fairest winner. What an amazing achievement for a first year player.
The final act of the night was the announcement of the AAFL All Auckland team. In the Full Back line Pete Jones was named, another first year player who has come so far from when they first played. In the Full Forward line Golden Boot Andrew Azzopardi was named, the league had to pick their leading goal kicker. The final player from the Hornets names as interchange was Kevin Crowe.
This was the most successful AAFL awards in Hornets / Panthers history and was the icing on the cake for a great season.