Danika Pisconeri from Subiaco Football Club was presented with the 2020 Dhara Kerr Fairest and Best at the vote count at Crown Ballroom on Tuesday September 29, with a total of 9 votes.
Pisconeri finished the count two votes ahead of Subiaco's Abbey Dowrick with 7 votes and Chloe Wrigley (Peel Thunder) on 6 votes.
Going back-to-back, having won the award jointly with fellow team mate Hayley Miller in 2019, Pisconeri earnt three votes in each of the opening three matches of the 2020 Optus WAFL Women's Premiership Season.
2020 marks the first year the Dhara Kerr Fairest and Best was awarded at the Sandover Medal event
2020 DHARA KERR MEDAL LEADERBOARD
9 – Danika Pisconeri (Subiaco)
7 – Abbey Dowrick (Subiaco)
6 – Chloe Wrigley (Peel Thunder
6 – Ella Smith (Claremont)
6 – Jessica Cox (Swan Districts)
5 – Tiah Haynes (Subiaco)
4 – Kimberley Bowey (East Fremantle)
4 – Kira Phillips (Peel Thunder)
4 – Abby Barnden (Peel Thunder)
4 – Emily McGuire (Swan Districts)
4 – Gabrielle O'Sullivan (East Fremantle)
4 – Hayley Miller (Subiaco)
4 – Lara Filocamo (Subiaco)
4 – Mikayla Hyde (Swan Districts)
4 – Lauren Vecchio (South Fremantle)
The winners of the WAFLW Reserves and Simply Energy Rogers Cup competitions were also honoured on the night.
WAFLW Reserves Fairest and Best Hannah Brown (East Fremantle)
Simply Energy Rogers Cup Fairest and Best Eva O'Donnell (Claremont) & Rosie Anderson (South Fremantle)
Joanne Huggins Medal Leading Goal Kicker Kira Phillips (Peel Thunder)
Cath Boyce WAFLW Rising Star Ebony Bilcich (Peel Thunder)
That meant there's mixed feelings as Pisconeri reflects on the 2020 WAFLW season. She is rightfully delighted to be rewarded with those nine votes in three games to win the Dhara Kerr Medal, but the premiership would have meant more ultimately.
"I definitely knew I started stronger than I finished. I always tend to play well against East because they are such a strong competitor, and that was in Round 2 so I thought I did alright in that game, but I wouldn’t have put myself as a three-voter for all of the first three games," Pisconeri said.
"You always go to a Grand Final wanting to get the win but Peel to their credit just outplayed us on the day. They were very hungry and used the wind when we didn’t so credit to them. They won the game outright, we didn’t necessarily hand it to them.
"But it's still disappointing that we haven’t been able to get out of that slump for a few years. It's something we need to try to look into and fix, but I can't take anything away from Peel, they played a better game on the day."
The COVID-19 ravaged year in 2020 has affected everybody in different ways and for Pisconeri who has been so used to playing sport virtually all-year round her whole life, she just was lost without any action for several months with the lockdown in place.
It obviously didn’t immediately impact her form once the season got underway but it did provide its challenges that's for sure.
"I've played high level sport since quite a young age with basketball which is my background and when COVID hit it was actually the first time in 12 to 15 years that I actually had time off," she said.
"And I didn’t really know what to do with it so I was questioning if I keep pursuing sport, do I be a bit lazy and just focus on my job.
"I think that confused mindset started to show itself a bit on the field but now I have a bit of time to refresh in the off-season to keep myself fit and healthy, and get my mind back on the goal."
Pisconeri enjoyed the chance to play in the AFLW competition with the Eagles for the first time last season, but she isn’t guaranteed of anything just yet heading towards 2021.
She is hoping she has impressed enough to firstly earn another spot on the list and then to be picked to play in the team once the season does get underway, but right now it's nothing but a nervous wait to see where or if she fits in.
"My sporting history has always shown I'm better the second year into things so I'd love another opportunity, but I'm aware there's a team of 30 girls that the coaches have to juggle," Pisconeri said.
"If I don’t quite fit in at the Eagles and at Freo Mim Strom did a fantastic job in the ruck and they have Anya Tighe back.
"There might not be a spot that fits me in it which wouldn’t be anyone's fault and we'd revisit next year, but the draft is next week and I don't know this for sure. I'm a pretty self-aware person, though, and we'll just see what happens."
Pisconeri has a lot more strings to her bow than just being an impressive footballer now with two Dhara Kerr Medals to her credit along with being a WAFLW and AFLW player of some repute.
Basketball is where her background is and prior to focusing her attention on football solely in 2019 to try and do enough to earn a chance in AFLW, which worked, she had put together quite the impressive State Basketball League career too.
She split her first six seasons in the league between the Mandurah Magic, South West Slammers and Stirling Senators, but then found her home at the Perry Lakes Hawks and was part of their championship team in 2017 in the SBL.
All up she has played 126 games in the SBL so going back to basketball was actually something she considered in 2020 before the training sessions with Subiaco for WAFLW clashed.
It's something she could again consider in 2021 depending on what happens in regards to the AFLW.
"I actually got told I needed to be a little bit more mobile so I went back to SBL training this year because it's a bit more of a fast-moving sport, and I really enjoy it and a lot of the girls I played with are still there," she said.
"And I have a love for it but the trainings clashed this year so it was impossible to do both. It's still on my mind, though, I'm not ruling it out and I'll take the off-season to refresh. If things don’t work out next week with the draft I'll see where I want to go and I feel like I'm still young enough to do both so we'll see what happens."
Highlighting the fact now that the WAFLW competition is seen on par with the WAFL was that the women's awards night this year where Pisconeri received her Dhara Kerr Medal was held in conjunction with the men's Sandover Medal count.
That's just another step forward to close the gap between men's and women's football, and Pisconeri couldn’t be happy to see the continued progress.
"This event is lovely and don’t get me wrong obviously last year was fantastic as well, but being included with the men and having an event like this is next level," Pisconeri said.
"Just before this the Subi men went past and congratulated me and we had a bit of a chat so it's quite lovely to recognise that we're all doing the same thing, and we have the same goals. It's a lot more equal than it once was and it's fantastic to see."