AFLW premiership player Bailey Hunt has claimed a major honour at the Western Bulldogs’ best and fairest awards, despite having been delisted by the club two weeks prior.
The inaugural Bulldog, who has been with the club in all of its eight seasons of existence, was told last month that she would not be offered a contract for 2024 as the wooden spooners continue a cleanout, which has included the sacking of coach Nathan Burke, after their one-win season.
The decision obviously wasn’t popular with her peers, who voted her in as the winner of the Domesqiue for 2023, an award, also won by Marcus Bontempelli for the men’s, given to the player who puts the team above themselves the most.
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Hunt played 50 games for the Bulldogs, including all seven during the league’s debut season in 2017, and six this year.
She had also been in the club’s leadership group for the past four years, and even worked in the administration team as well.
Bailey Hunt was delisted by the Bulldogs. Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images
The Bulldogs’ list and recruiting boss Mick Sandry thanked the 27-year-old for her contribution to the club.
“We would like to thank Bailey for everything she has given across her eight seasons at the Bulldogs, both as a player and also during her time in the club’s administration team,” he said.
“Bailey is much-loved by the entire program, and always gave maximum effort for her teammates. She will forever be a premiership Bulldog. We wish Bailey all the best for the future.”
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The decision didn’t go down too well with Bulldogs supporters though, who were perplexed with the decision.
“Who was she stopping from making the 22??? We need players like this to rebuild. Bad call,” one said.
“At a time when supporters question the loyalty of players who have moved to expansion clubs yet the club goes and does this to a foundation player. For a club that finished 1-9, it really makes me question what the admin is doing,” another added.
A third said: “Really disappointed the club chose not to offer her another contract.”
Hunt still attended the best and fairest awards alongside skipper Ellie Blackburn (left). Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images
Skipper Ellie Blackburn claimed her fifth club best and fairest on the night, well clear of runner-up Elisabeth Georgostathis, and leading goalkicker Kirsty Lamb, who finished third.
Isabella Grant and Gabby Newton tied for fourth.
Elsewhere around the league, former Bulldog, now Essendon captain, Bonnie Toogood, took out the Bombers’ top gong, edging out Maddy Prespakis in a tight count.
Stephanie Wales finished third ahead of Georgia Nanscawen in fourth.
And North Melbourne superstar Jasmine Garner took out her fourth best and fairest crown, ahead of Ash Riddell and Emma Kearney.