Eight of the best: How Kearney matched Buddy, Danger and Gaz

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North Melbourne skipper Emma Kearney has made her eighth consecutive All-Australian team, receiving the honour in every season in the AFLW’s history.

All that remains for the 34-year-old, who has won a flag and a league best-and-fairest award with the Western Bulldogs, is to lead the ’Roos to their maiden premiership.

Kearney played a pivotal role across half-back in North’s thrilling one-point win over Adelaide in the preliminary final to clinch a berth in Sunday’s grand final against Brisbane at IKON Park.

North Melbourne star Emma Kearney.Credit: Getty Images

The only male players to have earned All-Australian selection eight times are Lance Franklin, Patrick Dangerfield, Gary Ablett jnr, Robert Harvey and Mark Ricciuto.

The All-Australian team was unveiled at the W Awards at Crown Palladium on Monday night. Kearney’s teammate Garner, along with Adelaide champion Ebony Marinoff, both received their sixth blazer.

Melbourne skipper and league leading goalkicker Kate Hore was named as All-Australian captain, while Essendon co-captain Bonnie Toogood was named as vice-captain in her first year in the side, named at centre-half forward.

The team had 11 first-timers, including 20-year-old Morphett, Crows Irish recruit Niamh Kelly, Crows star goalscorer Danielle Ponter and Lions winger Sophie Conway.

Seven players received back-to-back blazers in Chelsea Biddell, Mon Conti, Garner, Hore, Kearney, Marinoff and Eilish Sheerin.

Ten teams were represented in the team with minor premiers the Crows with the most representation with four players named and the Lions, Swans and Kangaroos all with three.

Ally Anderson was recognised, after missed last year’s team despite taking out the league’s best and fairest award in that season, alongside Swans Laura Gardiner in her breakout season, young gun Charlie Rowbottom, consistent Tiger Conti and star Roo Ash Riddell.

While the competition is not short of midfield stars, Prespakis sisters Georgie and Maddy and Crows Anne Hatchard were unlucky to miss out.

Rising Star

Second-year player GWS forward Zarlie Goldsworthy was crowned this year’s Rising Star after a breakout season in which she also earned the Gabrielle Trainor Medal.

The 19-year-old was also the Giants’ leading goalscorer and is the first GWS player to win the award across the men’s and women’s competition.

She kicked 13 goals in 10 games and averaged 18.3 disposals, 6.6 tackles and 2.9 score involvements a game.

Zarlie Goldsworthy of the Giants marks the ball from Madeline Keryk of the Power during the 2023 AFLW Round 10 match.Credit: Getty

Goldsworthy won the award with 41 votes ahead of Sydney’s Ally Morphett (40 votes), who was sidelined with a hand injury after round seven, West Coast Eagles’ Ella Roberts (23), Port Adelaide’s Matilda Scholz (13) and Hawthorn’s Jasmine Fleming (7 votes).

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