Charlotte Simpson, Akayla Peterson and Jordan Mifsud after winning the 2023 Lambert-Pearce Medal. Picture: AFL Photos

After a fiercely competitive season where almost nothing separated the top nine teams, it seems fitting the Lambert-Pearce Medal count was just as heartstopping.

The count produced an all-time first as three winners were crowned in a count that went right down to the wire.

Box Hill Hawks pair Jordan Mifsud and Akayla Peterson shared the best and fairest medal with Geelong prime-mover Charlotte Simpson, with the trio polling 14 votes apiece to win by one from Collingwood star and rebel Coaches MVP Jess Bates.

Williamstown’s Emily Eaves was just one vote further back in fifth spot, with the top eight players finishing within one vote card of victory.

It is the first time three winners have been crowned in the one season, with there only having been three ties in the award’s history when the medal was solely named after Helen Lambert during the VWFL era.

Simpson, who is only 19 and entered her second year at VFLW level with just four previous games under her belt, made the early running to charge to 10 votes after seven rounds.

Mifsud and Peterson were well off the pace at that stage with just four votes apiece.

However, the former worked her way into contention with a three in Round 10 and singles in Rounds 12 and 13, while Peterson was best afield in Round 9 before picking up consecutive threes in Rounds 12 and 13 to take the lead heading into the final game.

Amazingly, eight players could have won the medal going into that last round, with Simpson, Bates and Eaves all one behind on 12, Mifsud and Carlton’s Ashlee Thorneycroft on 11 and North Melbourne skipper Jess Jones and Southern Saints best and fairest Winnie Laing on 10.

Thorneycroft failed to poll in Round 14 to rule her out, Jones missed and Bates picked up one to join Peterson in the lead.

Eaves didn’t score and Simpson grabbed two to move to the top of the ladder with one card to count – Box Hill Hawks v Southern Saints.

There were no votes for Laing as Peterson joined Simpson on 14 with the one before Mifsud’s name was read out for the three to seal the historic result.


Simpson was stunned to be called onto the stage so early in her career, despite averaging 22.8 disposals, 5.5 tackles and 2.6 marks in her 12 games.

“I don’t know how to describe how I feel. It’s pretty unbelievable,” Simpson said.

“Missing out on the draft last year was a bit disheartening but I didn’t have the season I needed.

“So to be able to have a really consistent year in the VFLW and prove that I’m ready for that next level. Hopefully it will happen.”

Mifsud was similarly delighted to share the award after averaging 19 possessions and a stunning 10.4 tackles.

“I’m a very competitive person. Seeing Georgia (Nanscawen) up their last year, I made it a goal for me to get close,” Mifsud said.

“To actually see out that dream I set for myself 12 months ago is pretty incredible.

“It is a good driving force throughout the year to have in your mind to keep you going.”

And Peterson, who polled seven of her 14 votes in the last three weeks with her 19, 17 and 17 disposals, had to quickly pull herself together as she came from the clouds to grab the honour, finishing with averages of 14.2 disposals and three tackles.

“I’m extremely surprised,” Peterson said.

“I was ecstatic to make the Team of the Year to be honest so I definitely didn’t expect this.

“I was properly shaking when we were going into the last round. I’m very happy and feeling very good about it all.”

Box Hill and Carlton topped the club leaderboard with 55 votes each ahead of grand finalist Collingwood on 51, while premiers Port Melbourne provided the biggest anomaly with just 40 votes to finish eighth, led by six apiece to Kaitlyn O’Keefe and Stephanie Williams.


14: Jordan Mifsud (Box Hill Hawks)
14: Akayla Peterson (Box Hill Hawks)

14: Charlotte Simpson (Geelong Cats)

Jess Bates (Collingwood)
12: Emily Eaves (Williamstown)
11: Shannon Danckert (Casey Demons)
11: Tahlia Meier (Western Bulldogs)
11: Ashlee Thorneycroft (Carlton)
10: Nyakoat Dojiok (Collingwood)
10: Jess Jones (North Melbourne)
10: Winnie Laing (Southern Saints)

CLUB LEADERBOARD: Box Hill Hawks 55, Carlton 55, Collingwood 51, Williamstown 50, Geelong Cats 44, Casey Demons 42, Essendon 42, Port Melbourne 40, Western Bulldogs 40, North Melbourne 39, Southern Saints 37, Darebin Falcons 9.

Click here to see the full vote listing.