O’Brien arrived at the club this year from the University of Queensland and starred in Southport’s midfield and forward line.
In just her third year of football she averaged 27 disposals, 15 contested possessions, 3 clearances and just less than a goal a game.
In her acceptance speech O’Brien said, “This year has been amazing. The program at Southport has been nothing short of incredible.”
“Living in Brisbane I’ve had to do a lot of driving, but it’s been so worth it. The support I’ve got from the management team, coaches and players has been outstanding.”
“We’ve got unfinished business at the Sharks and hopefully we can take the disappointment from not making the Grand Final this year and go all the way to win the flag next year.”
O’Brien also won the QAFLW Coaches MVP and was named the 2023 QAFLW Team of the Year Captain.
Earlier in the year, O’Brien was captain of the Queensland representative side against Tasmania and was named the best on ground in that game.
Joining Steph in this year’s QAFLW Team of the Year were five other Southport players – Maggie O’Connell, Lilly Pearce, Georgia Breward, Maddy Watt and Carly Remmos.
Maggie O’Connell was also recognised at the ceremony for being the QAFLW Leading Goal Kicker. She shared the award with Aspley’s Jess Stallard who also kicked 26 goals for the season.
Southport’s General Manager of Football Operations Jarrod Field said, “On behalf of everyone at the Southport Sharks we congratulate Steph for the incredible year she has had. She has been exceptional!
“Congratulations also to Maggie, Lilly, Georgia, Maddy and Carly for making the QAFLW team of the year. It is a terrific achievement, and we are so proud of them.”
“Although, we are still yet to win a QAFLW Premiership, it is fair to say we have had another successful year in the competition.”
“In two years of our QAFLW program we have have had two Emma Zielke Medalists and 11 players drafted to AFLW.”