- Major Awards
- The Brownlow Medal
- The John Coleman Medal
- The Norm Smith Medal
- The Sandover and Magarey Medals
- The Dr. William C. McClelland Trophy
- State Of Origin Football
- The All-Australian Team
- The AFLPA MVP
- Club Awards
- NAB Rising Star Award
- Jack Titus Award
- Premiership Cup and Medallions
- NAB Cup / NAB Challenge / JLT Community Series
- Teal Cup/Commonwealth Bank Cup
- Australian Football Hall of Fame
- AFL Women's Awards
The Charles Brownlow Trophy was instituted in 1924 for the "Fairest and Best" player in the VFL (Victorian Football League) home and away season. The trophy itself is an ornate lacquered medallion, no larger than an American silver dollar coin. It has been awarded every year since its inception, excluding 1942 through 1945 (due to World War II). It is considered to be the equivalent of the "MVP" in American sports and the highest individual award in Australian football. (See the separate section on the Players Association MVP award.)
The medal is named in memory of Charles Brownlow (1862-1924), who served both the Geelong Football Club and the old VFA/VFL for over forty years. A jeweler and watchmaker by trade, he played with Geelong in the VFA prior to the formation of the breakaway VFL in 1896. After his retirement as a player, he coached the club and was later appointed secretary of the Geelong Football Club. Many committee meetings were held in his shop after hours. For many years, the VFL was run not by an independent commission, but rather by club officials appointed to various roles on a VFL committee. Brownlow once served as vice president of the VFL while still on Geelong's committee, and filled in as president from 1917 to 1919 when O. M. Williams stepped down from the position. Brownlow fell ill in 1923 and passed away in January, 1924. After his death, the medal named for him was created, and the inaugural winner in 1924 was Geelong's Edward "Carji" Greeves.
The medal is awarded as follows: the field umpires in consultation after each game award six votes; three votes to the best player, two to the second best and one to the third best. These votes are collected and kept by the AFL until the week before the Grand Final. The award ceremony is a huge black-tie dinner affair with players and their wives, girlfriends, partners, dignitaries,etc, dressed to the nines. The whole affair is televised with the votes being counted round by round. The player gaining the most votes from the season is awarded the Brownlow Medal. Players who are suspended during the season can still receive votes, but are ineligible to win the award.
Two examples of this are:
In 1996, Brisbane's Michael Voss, North Melbourne's Corey McKernan, and Essendon's James Hird tied for the medal, but McKernan was ineligible due to an early season one-game suspension for tripping.
- In 1997, Bulldog Chris Grant polled 1 vote more than St. Kilda's Robert Harvey, but was also ineligible due to suspension, and Harvey won by default.
Should two or more players have the same number of votes then two or more medals are awarded. This replaced a "count back" system used from 1931 to 1981, in which ties were broken by counting numbers of "three" votes among the tied players, then "two" votes, etc.
In 1980, the count back system was scrapped, and retrospective medals were awarded to all players who had lost under the old system.
The 2018 Brownlow Medal was won by Tom Mitchell from Hawthorn, tallying 28 votes.
The Coleman Medal was instituted in 1981, and is awarded to the player who kicks the most goals during the home and away season. The medal honors John Coleman, a spectacular forward player for Essendon (and later a dual premiership coach of the same club), who many feel would have been the game's greatest ever player had a knee injury not prematurely ended his career after just 4 1/2 years. Coleman kicked 537 goals in only 98 games. In 2004, it was decided to award retrospective medals to the leading goalkickers from 1955 (a year after Coleman's retirement) to 1980.
Tony Lockett won a record four Coleman Medals. He won his first two as a member of St. Kilda in 1987 and 1991, and followed up with two more in 1996 and 1998 with Sydney. Hawthorn's Jason Dunstall won it three times in 1988, 1989, and 1992, as did Geelong great Gary Ablett Sr., picking up three medals in a row from 1993 through 1995.
Since the year 2000, three more players have won three Coleman Medals each. Essendon's Matthew Lloyd picked up the honors in 2000, 2001, and 2003, while Lance Franklin won his Coleman Medals in 2008 and 2011 with Hawthorn and with Sydney in 2014, and this year, Jack Riewoldt.
The 2019 Coleman Medal winner was Greater Western Sydney's Jeremy Cameron, who kicked 67 goals in the home and away season. It was his first Coleman Medal.
The Norm Smith Medal is awarded to the player voted best on ground during that season's Grand Final. Norm Smith was a player (and later coach) for Melbourne and Fitzroy, in addition to another coaching stint at South Melbourne. He coached Melbourne to an incredible six Premierships between 1955 and 1964. The Medal was first instituted in 1979.
In 2001, retrospective Norm Smith Medals were awarded to the Grand Final best on ground players from 1965 to 1978. A panel from the football publication AFL Record was selected to determine the winners. There were no medals awarded prior to 1965 due to a lack of Grand Final video footage from earlier years. In a way, it is somewhat fitting as 1964 was Melbourne's last premiership, and won under the coaching of Norm Smith.
Luke Hodge (Hawthorn) won his second Norm Smith Medal in 2014. His first also came as a member of the Hawks in 2008. Hodge is the third player to win multiple Norm Smith Medals, following Gary Ayres (1986 and 1988 - Hawthorn) and Andrew McLeod (1997 and 1998 - Adelaide).
Luke Shuey (West Coast) was the 2018 Norm Smith Medal winner.
The Sandover and Magarey Medals are the equivalent "Fairest and Best" medals from the West Australian Football League (WAFL) and the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) competitions.
Jye Bolton (Claremont) won the 2018 Sandover Medal, earning 52 votes.
Notable VFL/AFL players who won the Sandover Medal:
Hayden Bunton Sr (1938-39, 1941, Fitzroy), Graham "Polly" Farmer (1956-57, 1960, Geelong), Barry Cable (1964, 1973, North Melbourne), John Ironmonger (1983, Fitzroy), Steve Malaxos (1984, Hawthorn & West Coast), Mark Bairstow (1986, Geelong), Ryan Turnbull (2001, West Coast), Jaxon Crabb (2005, West Coast), Matt Priddis (2006, West Coast), Hayden Ballantyne (2008, Fremantle), Kane Mitchell (2012, Port Adelaide). Ironmonger later played in and contributed to footy in the United States.
The Magarey Medal for 2018 was won by Mitch Grigg (Norwood), compiling 26 votes. It was his 2nd in a row.
A number of Magarey Medalists also played AFL football: Malcolm Blight (won 1972, played for Kangaroos), Tony McGuinness (1982, Adelaide Crows), John Platten (1984, Hawthorn), Greg Anderson (1986, Essendon & Adelaide), Andrew Jarman (1987 & 1997, Adelaide), Gilbert McAdam (1989, St Kilda & Brisbane), Scott Hodges (1990, Adelaide), Nathan Buckley (1992, Brisbane & Collingwood), Josh Francou (1996, Port Adelaide), Ryan O'Connor (2001, Essendon & Sydney), Matt Thomas (2013, Richmond).
The McClelland Trophy was inaugurated in 1951. It was awarded to the club accumulating the highest number of points over three levels of competition (Senior, Reserves and Under-19). This was maintained until 1990, when the move to a one team national competition was undertaken. The McClelland Trophy is now awarded to the Minor Premier (the team finishing on top of the ladder after the home and away season.) The trophy was instituted to recognize the service of Dr. McClelland as a player, club delegate for Melbourne, and as VFL President from 1926 to 1955.
The Geelong Cats won the McClelland Trophy in 2019, finishing the home and away season on top of the ladder with 16 wins (64 points) from 22 matches. They finished ahead of Richmond and Brisbane, also with 16 wins, on percentage (135.7). They will be the "number one seed" in the finals.
State of Origin Football was instituted in 1977. Games between the different states had been played since the early origins of football; however, the situation arose where the VFL had acquired many of the star players from other states, as these players were attracted to Victorian teams and their higher salaries. State of Origin was born out of the intense interstate rivalries, and allowed footballers to play for their "home" state.
Players were allowed to come from anywhere in Australia to play for their home state, as opposed to the previous system, where the State team was chosen from the players in the respective state league, regardless of where the player originally came from. This now meant that Western Australia and South Australia could challenge Victoria to interstate football games and field their best players, who were likely to be playing over in the VFL.
The definition of where a player's home state was changed from year to year, meaning some players were forced to play for different states according to the rule changes (where you were born, where you played your first Senior football game, where you were at age 16, etc.) This was seen to undermine the credibility of State of Origin Football. An additional factor was the creation of the National Competition, where Western Australia and South Australia, the two main instigators of State of Origin football, were seen to have had compiled their State of Origin teams from only the Adelaide and West Coast football clubs (an altogether incorrect idea, however).
In its prime, State of Origin football saw games of the highest quality played in front of large crowds. It was similar in structure to an All-Star Game.
In 1995, the AFL, wishing to regenerate enthusiasm for State of Origin Football, set one weekend aside during the middle of the season for two State of Origin Games. These involved Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, and a composite "rest of Australia" side known as the Allies, which allowed some of the stars not originating from the "Big Three" footballing states to play at that level in a legitimate way (as opposed to playing for one of the Big Three or missing out altogether).
To qualify for a state team, a player had to have lived in and played the majority of his junior career in that state. Five medals could be awarded during a State of Origin game.
The EJ Whitten Medal - Awarded to the best Victorian player in a State of Origin match.
The Simpson Medal - Fairest and Best in a West Australian Football League Grand Final, or the best player in an interstate game in Western Australia.
The Fos Williams Medal - Awarded to the best South Australian player in a State of Origin match.
The Graham Moss Medal - Awarded to the best Western Australian player in a State of Origin match.
The Alex Jesaulenko Medal - Awarded to the best Allies player in a State of Origin match.
Ted "EJ" Whitten was a champion player for Footscray (now the Western Bulldogs). A gregarious character, he was a great backer of state footy, and enjoyed engaging in matches with bitter rival South Australia.
Dr. Fred Simpson, along with his family, first donated the medal in 1945.
Fos Williams was an icon of South Australian football for the Port Adelaide Magpies, which still exist today in the SANFL.
Graham Moss was a fine ruckman for Claremont in Western Australia as well as for Essendon.
Alex Jesaulenko was a Carlton champion, who is best remembered for the towering mark he took in the 1970 Grand Final win over Collingwood. He also coached both Carlton and St. Kilda.
In 1999, the last official State of Origin game involving AFL players was played between Victoria and South Australia.
On May 29th, 1999 at the MCG in Melbourne:
|Victoria "Big V"||5.3||11.9||13.12||17.19||121|
|South Australia "Croweaters"||4.1||7.2||10.5||10.7||67|
E. J. Whitten Medalist: Brent Harvey (Kangaroos)
Fos Williams Medalist: Andrew McKay (Carlton)
Coach: Robert Walls
Backs: Justin Leppitsch (Brisbane), Stephen Silvagni (Carlton), David King (Kangaroos)
Half-backs: Rohan Smith (Bulldogs), Anthony Koutoufides (Carlton), Wayne Campbell (Richmond)
Centers: Scott West (Bulldogs), Brett Ratten (Carlton), Peter Riccardi (Adelaide)
Half-forwards: Brad Johnson (Bulldogs), David Schwarz (Melbourne), Chris Grant (Bulldogs)
Forwards: Nigel Lappin (Brisbane), Matthew Lloyd (Essendon), Andrew Thompson (St. Kilda)
Followers: Peter Everitt (St. Kilda), Garry Hocking (c)(Adelaide), Nathan Burke (St. Kilda)
Interchange: Brent Harvey (Kangaroos), Angelo Lekkas (Hawthorn), Andrew Leoncelli (Hawthorn), Matthew Allan (Carlton), Trent Croad (Hawthorn), Chad Morrison (West Coast)
Emergencies: Jeff White (Melbourne), Ben Graham (Geelong), Tim McGrath (Geelong)
Coach: Graham Cornes
Backs: Brett James (Adelaide), Sean Wellman (Adelaide), Ben Hart (Adelaide)
Half-backs: Mark Ricciuto (Adelaide), Darren Mead (Port Adelaide), Byron Pickett (Kangaroos)
Centers: Craig Bradley (c)(Carlton), Todd Viney (Melbourne), Craig McRae (Brisbane)
Half-forwards: Scott Camporeale (Carlton), Matthew Robran (Adelaide), Nick Daffy (Richmond)
Forwards: Warren Tredrea (Port Adelaide), Luke Darcy (Bulldogs), Josh Francou (Port Adelaide)
Followers: Matthew Clarke (Adelaide), Nigel Smart (Adelaide), Matthew Rogers (Adelaide)
Interchange: Nick Holland (Hawthorn), David Pittman (Adelaide), Darryl Wakelin (St. Kilda), Tyson Edwards(Adelaide), Peter Burgoyne(Port Adelaide), Andrew McKay (Carlton)
Emergencies: Matthew Nicks (Sydney), Anthony Ingerson (Melbourne), Brenton Sanderson (Geelong)
An annual charity All-Star Game, called the E.J. Whitten Legends Game, has been held since 1996. Retired players along with non-football celebrities play a State of Origin game. Representatives of Victoria play on one squad, while the rest of the Australian states are assembled on another team.
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Australian Football, a special Hall of Fame Tribute Match between Victoria and a Dream Team (made from the other Australian states) was played on May 10, 2008.
Since 1991, the All-Australian Team has been comprised of the 18 best players in the AFL (by position). In addition, three interchange players and a coach of the year are selected. It is determined by a panel after the home and away season. Unlike the Brownlow Medal, players that have been reported and found guilty are still eligible to be included in the team.
All-Australian selections for 2018 were:
|Backs:||Tom Stewart (Geelong)||Alex Rance (Richmond)||Rory Laird (Adelaide)|
|Halfbacks:||Rory Laird (Adelaide)||Jeremy McGovern (West Coast)||Lachie Whitfield (Greater Western Sydney)|
|Centers:||Andrew Gaff (West Coast)||Dustin Martin (Richmond)||Steele Sidebottom (Collingwood)|
|Half forwards:||Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide)||Lance Franklin (Sydney)**||Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong)*|
|Forwards:||Jack Gunston (Hawthorn)||Jack Riewoldt (Richmond)||Luke Breust (Hawthorn)|
|Followers:||Max Gawn (Melbourne)||Patrick Cripps (Carlton)||Tom Mitchell (Hawthorn)|
|Interchange:||Brodie Grundy (Collingwood)||Clayton Oliver (Melbourne)||Shaun Higgins (North Melbourne)|
|Shane Edwards (Richmond)|
|Coach||Adam Simpson (West Coast)||*vice-captain||**captain|
Since the 1980s, an Australian team took on Ireland in a hybrid rules game, using elements of both Aussie Rules and Gaelic Football, with the round Gaelic football being used during play. Beginning in 1998, it was been played on a yearly basis (with the exception of 2007, 2009, and 2012), with the two countries alternating annually as hosts.
For 1999, the Players Association selected a "team of the last 25 years." Those honored were:
|Backs:||Gary Ayres (Hawthorn)||Stephen Silvagni (Carlton)||Guy McKenna (West Coast)|
|Halfbacks:||Bruce Doul (Carlton)l||Peter Knights (Hawthorn)||Francis Bourke (Richmond)|
|Centers:||Robert Flower (Melbourne)||Greg Williams (Carlton)||Keith Greig (Kangaroos)|
|Half forwards:||Gary Ablett (Geelong)||Wayne Carey (Kangaroos/Adelaide)||Malcolm Blight (Kangaroos)|
|Forwards:||Dermott Brereton (Hawthorn)||Tony Lockett (St. Kilda/Sydney)||Kevin Bartlett (Richmond)|
|Followers:||Simon Madden (Carlton)||Robert Harvey (St. Kilda)||Leigh Matthews (Hawthorn)|
|Interchange:||Shaun Rehn (Adelaide)||Wayne Schimmelbusch (Kangaroos)||Nathan Buckley (Collingwood)|
|Michael Tuck (Hawthorn)|
|Coach:||David Parkin (Carlton)|
|Captain:||Leigh Matthews (Hawthorn)|
The AFL Players Association has it's own "Most Valuable Player" or MVP Award given out each year and voted on by the players. The award was first given out in 1982 and annually since then. Gary Ablett, Jr. has won the award five times. No one else has won more than twice.
|1993||Gary Ablett, Sr.|
|2007||Gary Ablett, Jr.|
|2008||Gary Ablett, Jr.|
|2009||Gary Ablett, Jr.|
|2012||Gary Ablett, Jr.|
|2013||Gary Ablett, Jr.|
Most teams have an award for the best and fairest or club champion, honoring the best player for the club in that year. The process of selection for each club for this award varies greatly.
AFL club champions for 2018 were:
|Gold Coast||Jarrod Harbrow|
|GWS Giants||Lachie Whitfield|
|North Melbourne||Shaun Higgins|
|Port Adelaide||Justin Westhoff|
|St. Kilda||Jack Steven|
|West Coast||Elliott Yeo|
|Western Bulldogs||Lachie Hunter|
The Rising Star Award is given to the best rookie for the past season. "Rookie" is defined as a player under the age of 21 who has been selected for less than ten games prior to the season in question. (International rookies can be older but none have ever been nominated for the award.)
|1993||Nathan Buckley||Brisbane Bears|
|1994||Chris Scott||Brisbane Bears|
|1996||Ben Cousins||West Coast|
|1997||Michael Wilson||Port Adelaide|
|1998||Byron Pickett||North Melbourne|
|2001||Justin Koschitzke||St. Kilda|
|2002||Nick Riewoldt||St. Kilda|
|2006||Danyle Pearce||Port Adelaide|
|2009||Daniel Rich||Brisbane Lions|
|2013||Jaeger O'Meara||Gold Coast|
|2014||Lewis Taylor||Brisbane Lions|
The Jack Titus Award is given annually in recognition of service to football at all levels. The award is typically announced before the season begins for the previous calendar year. Jack "Skinny" Titus (1908 – 1978) played in the Victorian Football League (VFL) between 1926 and 1943 for the Richmond Football Club and continued to serve the club for many years after his retirement.
|1978||Jack Adams||North Melbourne|
|1981||Ian Drake||St Kilda|
|1986||Jim Hannan||North Melbourne|
|1990||John Dugdale||North Melbourne|
|1993||Keith McKenzie||North Melbourne / Carlton|
|1996||Bill Stephen||Fitzroy / Essendon|
|1999||Laurie Dwyer||North Melbourne / Sydney|
|2005||Brian Le Brocq||AFL Tribunal|
|2006||Bill Sutherland||West Coast Eagles|
|2007||Ken Whiffin||St Kilda|
|2008||Gary Colling||St Kilda|
|2009||Bob Elix||AFL Northern Territory|
|2010||Dr. Bruce Reed||Essendon|
|Dr. Ian Reynolds||Essendon|
|2011||Dr Alan Mackenzie||Southport AFC (Northeast AFL)|
|2012||Alf Trebilcock||Port Adelaide|
The club that wins the Grand Final are referred to as the Premiers. The winners get the right to fly a pennant, much as winning baseball clubs do in America. Since 1959, a silver Premiership Cup has been awarded, which the club keeps in perpetuity. (A notable exception was the Centenary Cup of 1996, which was plated in gold).
At the start of the following season, the "reigning premier" holds a pregame ceremony at which the premiership flag is unfurled and hoisted. The ceremony is held at the team's first home game of the year.
Premiership medallions are awarded to each of the team's players that played in the Grand Final; this is similar to the awarding of championship rings here, except that no non-participant may be voted a medal, which magnifies the pain of late-season injuries and form slumps.
From 1988 to 2013, The NAB Australia Cup was an annual preseason tournament involving every AFL club, with all matches played at night throughout the entire continent. The preseason cup was a single elimination tournament, with the losing teams from each round going on to play practice games in various areas of Australia which otherwise might never see a live game. The Michael Tuck Medal was awarded to the best on ground during the grand final. In 2005, Geelong won the NAB Cup, but the Michael Tuck Medal was awarded to Adelaide's Simon Goodwin. It was the first and only time in preseason cup history that the medal went to a player from the losing side.
In 2014, the NAB Cup was replaced by the NAB Challenge. In this format, every team plays two matches. There is no Grand Final and therefore, no overall winner of the competition. In 2017, the sponsor changed and the name became the JLT Community Series.
The tournament is employed by the AFL as a means of experimenting with proposed rule changes, just as America's National Football League does during its preseason. Until 2018, for instance, a goal kicked from 50 meters or beyond was worth 9 points instead of 6 points. This included goals kicked from 50 meter penalties, which brought the player from outside 50 to within close range.
An annual Under-18 football tournament, with representative teams from each state (including country and city Victoria) selected from the best teenage footballers in the local leagues. The tournament is meant to be a showcase of the young talent available, and attendance is considered mandatory by AFL scouts. This was originally known as the Teal Cup. The name was changed to the TAC Cup due to a sponsorship offer from the Traffic Accident Commission of Victoria, a state agency which investigates accidents, offers collision insurance, and sells safe driving throughout the region.
The Hall was established at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1996 to honor exceptional players of Australian football throughout the league's history. The Hall of Fame also honors administrators, umpires, and media people who have made outstanding contributions. The first class numbered 100 inductees, and ten Legends of the Game, called the "greatest of the great."
Players who were inducted in 2019 are Trevor Barker (St Kilda), Jim Deane (South Adelaide, Richmond), Ron Evans (former Essendon President and AFL Commissioner), Brad Hardie (South Fremantle, Footscray, Brisbane, Collingwood), Ken Hunter (Claremont, Carlton), and Michael Malthouse (Footscray, West Coast, Collingwood, and Carlton coach).
The original 12 Legends are: Ron Barassi (played for Melbourne & Carlton, coached Carlton, North Melbourne, Melbourne, and Sydney), Hayden Bunton Sr (FItzroy), Roy Cazaly (Hawthorn & St. Kilda), John Coleman (Essendon), Jack Dyer (Richmond), Graham "Polly' Farmer (Geelong), (Essendon), Leigh Matthews (played for Hawthorn, coached Collingwood, Brisbane), John Nicholls (Carlton), Bob Pratt (South Melbourne), Dick Reynolds (Essendon), Bob Skilton (South Melbourne), and Ted Whitten (Footscray).
Inductees can be elevated to Legend status in subsequent years. Some inductees later elevated were: Ian Stewart (St. Kilda), Darrel Baldock (St. Kilda), Kevin Bartlett (Richmond), Gordon Coventry (Collingwood), Jock McHale (player and coach of Collingwood), Barrie Robran (champion player in the SANFL), Norm Smith, Alex Jesaulenko, Royce Hart, and Tony Lockett.
To be eligible, a player must be retired for at least three years.
The 2019 Best and Fairest Medal was won by Adelaide's Erin Phillips.
The women's All-Australian selections for 2019 were:
|Backs:||Ash Brazill (Collingwood)||Meg McDonald (Geelong)|
|Halfbacks:||Jess Duffin (North Melbourne)||Chelsea Randall (Adelaide)*||Kerryn Harrington (Carlton)|
|Centers:||Emma Kearney (North Melbourne)||Kiara Bowers (Fremantle)||Karen Paxman (Melbourne)|
|Half forwards:||Erin Phillips (Adelaide)**||Jasmine Garner (North Melbourne)||Monique Conti (Western Bulldogs)|
|Forwards:||Gemma Houghton (Fremantle)||Stevie Lee Thompson (Adelaide)|
|Followers:||Lauren Pearce (Melbourne)||Ebony Marinoff (Adelaide)||Madison Prespakis (Carlton)|
|Interchange:||Emma King (North Melbourne)||Gabbie Pound (Carlton)||Ally Anderson (Brisbane)|
|Anne Hatchard (Adelaide)||Dana Hooker (Fremantle)|
The 2019 AFLPA MVP was Erin Phillips who won for the second time.
The 2019 NAB Rising Star for women was won by Carlton's Madison Prespakis.
The 2019 Jill Lindsay Scholarship for women football executives was won by Trisha Squires, CEO, AFL Tasmania.
|2013||Lauren Byrnes||AFL Sportsready|
|2014||Emily Buysen||North Melbourne FC|
|2015||Emily Wastle||AFL Queensland|
|2016||Chelsea Randall||Swans Districts FC|
|2017||Maddy Collier||AFL NSW/ACT|
|2018||Jessica Tedge||AFL Licensing|
|2019||Trisha Squires||AFL Tasmania|
Article last changed on Friday, August 30, 2019 - 2:58 PM EDT