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The Charles Brownlow Trophy is an individual award given to the player judged fairest and best in the Australian Football League during the regular season. Determined by votes cast by the officiating umpires after each game, it is considered the highest honour for individual players in the AFL.
The three field umpires (those umpires who control the flow of the game, as opposed to goal or boundary umpires) confer after each match and award three votes, two votes and one vote to the players they regard as the best, second best and third best in the match, respectively. The votes are kept secret until the awards night, and are read and tallied on the evening.
As of 2018 it has been awarded 105 times to 87 different players in 91 medal counts.
The medal has been awarded every year since 1924, with the exception of an intermission from 1942–1945 as a mark of respect to soldiers fighting overseas in World War II.
From 1930 to 1980, a countback system was used to determine the winner in the event of a tie. In 1930, Judkins was awarded the medal as he had played in the fewest games.
From 1931 to 1980, with the introduction of 3-2-1 voting, the winner was the player with the most three-vote games.
In 1980, the countback system was removed, and in the event of a tie, players have been considered joint winners.
In 1989, the then VFL awarded retrospective medals to all players who had tied but lost on countback prior to 1980.