A ‘Charlie’ by any other name: What should we call the AFLW best & fairest?

Erin Phillips with her medal on Tuesday night.

By LUCY HOLMES 

Adelaide co-captain Erin Phillips created history on Tuesday night in claiming the inaugural AFLW Best & Fairest award, just days after leading the Crows to premiership glory.

But what did she win, exactly?

The award – unlike the men’s coveted Brownlow Medal – has no big name attached to the title, no fancy label to honour footy greats, no sponsorship name to give some spark to the bland title of 2017 AFLW Best & Fairest Award. 
 
Local star and Melbourne FC captain Daisy Pearce suggested it could be called “Charlie”, after the affectionate nickname given to the Charles Brownlow Medal the men receive. 
 
“‘Charlie’ is unisex why don’t we stick with that as a name for it for now?” she tweeted yesterday. 
 

Among the responses to her tweet came the suggestion that it could be called “the Daisy Pearce”, in recognition of her status as a role model for young female footballers.
 
But the question remains – who could be a candidate?
 

Former Western Bulldogs vice-president Susan Alberti was a pioneer of the AFL women’s competition.  She donated $25,000 to the Victorian Women’s Football League (VWFL) to help the leagues volunteers and the association, which was struggling to stay afloat at the time. The VWFL Premier Division Cup is named the Susan Alberti Cup in her honour and she was awarded life membership of the Western Bulldogs Football Club in 2015 and is also the president of the Footscray Football Club VFL team.

Football writer and broadcaster Caroline Wilson was the first woman to cover Australian Rules football on a full-time basis. She was also the first woman to earn the AFL’s gold media award. Wilson, like Alberti, did not actually play competition Australian Rules football, but she is a quality contributor to the Australian football media with many young aspiring female sports journalists wanting to follow in her footsteps. 

Charles Brownlow himself was both a player and involved in the broader administration of the game. He played with the Geelong Football Club, worked as the club secretary for almost 40 years and he served as the Victorian Football League president between 1918 and 1919.