BENDIGO'S Caitlin Thwaites has capped a dream farewell season by scoring a top-four finish in the Melbourne Vixens' Sharelle McMahon Medal best and fairest award.
Thwaites, who completed her 18th and final national league season on Sunday with a starring role in the Vixens' 66-64 grand final win over the West Coast Fever, polled 32 votes in Monday night's count.
The award was won by co-captain and centre Kate Moloney with 50 votes, with Jo Weston and Kate Eddy tying for second place on 40, with Thwaites next best, one vote ahead of co-captain Liz Watson.
Thwaites, who enjoyed one of the best seasons of her career while alternating between goal attack and goal shooter, was the recipient of the coaches award.
A true professional, a natural leader, a competitive force, a heart of gold and a treasured teammate 🤗 You are one of a kind @CaitlinThwaites 💕— Melbourne Vixens (@MelbourneVixens) October 19, 2020
You continue to lead by example both on and off the court, and you will be truly missed. 🥰 #Vixens4Lifepic.twitter.com/b54fuDcXyi
Allie Smith was named rookie of the year, while Weston was named player of the finals series.
Despite coming so close in previous years, including runner-up last season behind Emily Mannix, Moloney admitted she was surprised to be awarded the Sharelle McMahon Medal, after the great depth the Vixens had exhibited across the squad all season.
"What's been so great about this team this year - and what's made us so successful - is the depth we've had across this whole group and that's what's made us so successful," she said.
"It's a credit to every single one of these girls as we didn't know if we were going to play, we didn't know if we were going to have a competition, but we kept training over Zoom and doing those running sessions by ourselves.
"You know, we play a team sport because we love training and playing together (so)...that moment when we got to the airport was one of the most special ones for me this year, as it meant that we were going to be able to play."
Thwaites ends her stellar national league career as a dual premiership player following success with the Vixens in 2009 and again this year.
Sharelle McMahon leaderboard: Kate Moloney (50); Jo Weston and Kate Eddy (40); Caitlin Thwaites (32); Liz Watson (31); Mwai Kumwenda (23); Emily Mannix (16); Tegan Philip (15); Kadie-Ann Dehaney (4); Allie Smith (1).
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