In a close count, Warracknabeal’s Ella Bibby and Ballarat’s Sophie van de Heuvel were crowned as the first ever Rebels TAC Cup Girls Best & Fairest players, tying on 14 votes to jointly take home the award, one vote ahead of Carisbrook’s Lauren Butler.
Bibby’s win capped off an outstanding season where she polled votes in four of the Rebels five games in her first season of club football, having previously played school football at Ballarat Grammar around commitments with netball, where she represents the ACU Sovereigns in the Victorian Netball League, and Basketball.
Van de Heuvel polled in three of the five games, including maximum votes in wins over the Bendigo Pioneers and Sandringham Dragons, to share in the award. Having represented Victoria in cricket over the summer months, van de Heuvel’s pre-season was shortened compared to the rest of the list, but her obvious talents shone through, and she has been invited to train with Victoria Country in the lead-up to the Under 18 National Championships.
Runner-up Butler has been a star of the MCDFNL Lions, now Carisbrook, Youth Girls team in the Ballarat Football Netball League’s Youth Girls competition, narrowly missing out on their competition best & fairest in 2016. Polling votes in four of the Rebels five games, Butler is also one of seven Rebels invited to train with Victoria Country.
Other awards presented on the night, which were presented by Brisbane Lions AFL Women’s player, and Ballarat local, Kaitlyn Ashmore, included the Best First Year Player award, which went to Lake Wendouree’s Sophie Molan and the Coaches Award, awarded to Nhill’s Tessa Marra.
The GWV Rebels finished in seventh spot in the first ever TAC Cup Girls season, winning three of their five games.