Three best on ground performances in the final three rounds of the season was almost enough for Holbrook's Alyce Parker to take out the AFLW best and fairest on Tuesday night.
The GWS Giants midfielder tied for third with Western Bulldogs' Ellie Blackburn on 14 votes - one shy of joint winners Brianna Davey (Collingwood) and Kiara Bowers (Fremantle) on 15.
Parker polled votes in six of the nine matches and was best afield on four occasions.
"I was trailing by a fair bit mid-season, so I didn't think I was a chance," she said.
"The back end of the season I was lucky enough to play some good footy, which allowed me to poll well.
"I definitely didn't expect to get that close, so it's such an honour to be recognised on a similar level to the leading players of the league."
Parker couldn't have imagined she'd be in that position after the doubt around the AFLW season due to a COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney late last year, which saw the Giants temporarily relocate to Albury in January.
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"The way we started and even the pre-season definitely wasn't normal," she said.
"Having to hub for six weeks all around the country came with its challenges, but in saying that I think it was incredible for our team the way we built this resilience and really connected."
Parker was also named in the midfield of the All-Australian side and became the Giants' first player to receive the honour twice after an interchange appearance in 2020.
"We couldn't attend the event down in Melbourne, we were up in Sydney in an intimate room pretty much sharing it with our home state and all the people who contribute to NSW football," she said.
"To be the first Giant to do that is very special, but even more so to be able to share it with the club up here in Sydney."
Giants coach Alan McConnell paid tribute to Parker for another exceptional season.
"She's an incredibly driven footballer and one of her own harshest critics but deserves all the recognition that comes her way," he said.
Parker will head back to the family farm at Cookardinia next month and will play for East Coast Eagles in the Sydney competition.
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