Crocker backs Garner to keep focus on AFLW grand final

Roger Vaughan |

Darren Crocker is supremely confident that among the many things on his mind this week, Jasmine Garner’s focus won’t be among them.

The North Melbourne coach says a long-overdue AFLW best and fairest award won’t distract Garner ahead of her grand final debut next Sunday against Brisbane.

Garner surprisingly has a history of not polling well in the women’s equivalent of the Brownlow, which will be presented on Monday night at the league’s annual W awards function.

The AFLW coaches judged her the best player in the league for the second-successive year and the Kangaroos midfielder is tipped to also attract plenty of umpires’ votes after a stellar season.

“Jas is the type of player, that would be the furthest thing from her mind now,” Crocker said.

“She’s now in a grand final and she’ll just be planning and preparing to help the team win – that’s just the person she is.

“Any individual awards or recognition or accolades that come her way, that’s just a bonus for Jas.”

Crocker said Garner had enjoyed stellar form on the back of a big off-season.

“I think she’ll poll really well, she’s had another outstanding year – I thought the same last year,” he said.

“She’s even taken her footy to another level, she had an unbelievable off-season.

“She’s just carried it all the way through.”

Two players have done the AFLW premiership-best and fairest double.

Newly retired star Erin Phillips diid it twice at Adelaide in 2017 and ’19, while Emma Kearney achieved the feat at the Western Bulldogs in ’18.

The All-Australian team will also be revealed on Monday night and for Kearney, now North’s captain, it is a chance to continue her unique streak.

Kearney, who overcame illness to play in Sunday’s one-point preliminary final win against Adelaide, is the only AFLW player to have made every All-Australian team since the league started in 2017. 

Garner has also made five All-Australian teams and has won North’s best and fairest award three times.