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"The complete player"

PCM: Van Dyk wins VFLW B&F Jayde Van Dyk is your 2018 VFLW Best and Fairest winner.

There isn’t much Jayde Van Dyk didn’t achieve in 2018.

At the Lambert Pearce Medal night a month ago, the Hawthorn defender’s evening began with her winning the league’s Rising Star award. 

The 22-year-old then found herself on stage again soon after, this time being selected in the back pocket of the Team of the Year.

Less than a fortnight later, Van Dyk had a medallion draped around her neck after winning the 2018 premiership with her Hawthorn teammates.

Finally, her season was capped off with one of footy’s highest honours, named the best and fairest player in a premiership-winning season, as she held off teammates Rebecca Beeson, Meg Hutchins and Emma Mackie in a tight count.

Read: All the votes from the VFLW best and fairest

But this latest accolade may not be the final chapter of Van Dyk’s illustrious year.

In fact, if you subscribe to the widely-held belief that Van Dyk is set to be taken at Pick 1 at the AFLW Draft on October 23, the best could still be yet to come.

Hawthorn VFLW Coach Patrick Hill is a firm believer and says that his premiership star is a deserving first selection. 

“I think she is almost the complete player,” Hill said. 

“On pure talent alone, I think she stacks up against anyone.

“So, why wouldn’t you go after someone like Jayde?” 

Hill says Van Dyk is a natural defender, who can play as an attacking half-back or in a shutdown role on a variety of shapes and sizes.  

She was one of Hawthorn’s premier ball-users this season, while also rarely losing a contest in the air.

Among her fellow premiership teammates, the likes of Emily Gilder, Chantella Perera, Ebony Nixon, Tahni Nestor and Olivia Flanagan have also had significant interest ahead of the draft. 

As is the reality of being a successful side, AFLW clubs will likely be circling, looking to enlist players that helped propel the side from third-last in 2017 to premiers 12 months later.   

This is a notion that Hill says the club is well-prepared for. 

“We’d still hope to get some of them back, but we’d probably be naïve to think we could get them all back.

“VFLW contracts are all only one year, so there is no guarantees and we know that.

“But the girls love playing here, and I think there is a really good bond throughout the playing group.”


The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs