Charles Brownlow Trophy

brownlow medal

Brownlow Medal

The Charles Brownlow Trophy, better known as the Brownlow Medal is an individual award given to the player judged fairest and best in the League during the home-and-away season.

It was created and named in honour of Charles Brownlow, a former Geelong Football Club footballer and club secretary, and VFL president, who died in January 1924.

The medal was first awarded by the Victorian Football League in 1924.

Determined by votes cast by the officiating umpires after each game, it is considered the highest honour for individual players in the league.

The award's specific criterion (fairest and best) reflects an emphasis on sportsmanship and fair play, which also explains the decision to have the votes cast by the umpires.

brownlow medalists 1924 – 2021
year recipient
1924 Edward Greeves Jr. geeimage
1925 Colin Watson stkimage
1926 Ivor Warne-Smith melimage
1927 Syd Coventry colimage
1928 Ivor Warne-Smith melimage
1929 Albert Collier colimage
1930 Harry Collier colimage
1930 Allan Hopkins fooimage
1930 Stan Judkins ricimage
1931 Haydn Bunton Sr. fitimage
1932 Haydn Bunton Sr. fitimage
1933 Wilfred Smallhorn fitimage
1934 Dick Reynolds essimage
1935 Haydn Bunton Sr. fitimage
1936 Denis Ryan fitimage
1937 Dick Reynolds essimage
1938 Dick Reynolds essimage
1939 Marcus Whelan colimage
1940 Des Fothergill colimage
1940 Herbie Matthews souimage
1941 Norman Ware fooimage
1946 Don Cordner melimage
1947 Bert Deacon carimage
1948 Bill Morris ricimage
1949 Col Austen hawimage
1949 Ron Clegg souimage
1950 Allan Ruthven fitimage
1951 Bernie Smith geeimage
1952 Roy Wright ricimage
1952 Bill Hutchison essimage
1953 Bill Hutchison essimage
1954 Roy Wright ricimage
1955 Fred Goldsmith souimage
1956 Peter Box fooimage
1957 Brian Gleeson stkimage
1958 Neil Roberts stkimage
1959 Verdun Howell stkimage
1959 Bob Skilton souimage
1960 John Schultz fooimage
1961 John James carimage
1962 Alistair Lord geeimage
1963 Bob Skilton souimage
1964 Gordon Collis carimage
1965 Noel Teasdale nmeimage
1965 Ian Stewart stkimage
1966 Ian Stewart stkimage
1967 Ross Smith stkimage
1968 Bob Skilton souimage
1969 Kevin Murray fitimage
1970 Peter Bedford souimage
1971 Ian Stewart ricimage
1972 Len Thompson colimage
1973 Keith Greig nmeimage
1974 Keith Greig nmeimage
1975 Gary Dempsey fooimage
1976 Graham Moss essimage
1977 Graham Teasdale souimage
1978 Malcolm Blight nmeimage
1979 Peter Moore colimage
1980 Kelvin Templeton fooimage
1981 Bernie Quinlan fitimage
1981 Barry Round souimage
1982 Brian Wilson melimage
1983 Ross Glendinning nmeimage
1984 Peter Moore melimage
1985 Brad Hardie fooimage
1986 Robert DiPierdomenico hawimage
1986 Greg Williams sydimage
1987 John Platten hawimage
1987 Tony Lockett stkimage
1988 Gerard Healy sydimage
1989 Paul Couch geeimage
1990 Tony Liberatore fooimage
1991 Jim Stynes melimage
1992 Scott Wynd fooimage
1993 Gavin Wanganeen essimage
1994 Greg Williams carimage
1995 Paul Kelly sydimage
1996 James Hird essimage
1996 Michael Voss image
1997 Robert Harvey stkimage
1998 Robert Harvey stkimage
1999 Shane Crawford hawimage
2000 Shane Woewodin melimage
2001 Jason Akermanis briimage
2002 Simon Black briimage
2003 Mark Ricciuto adeimage
2003 Nathan Buckley colimage
2003 Adam Goodes sydimage
2004 Chris Judd wceimage
2005 Ben Cousins wceimage
2006 Adam Goodes sydimage
2007 Jimmy Bartel geeimage
2008 Adam Cooney wesimage
2009 Gary Ablett Jr. geeimage
2010 Chris Judd carimage
2011 Dane Swan colimage
2012 Sam Mitchell hawimage
2012 Trent Cotchin ricimage
2013 Gary Ablett Jr. gcimage
2014 Matt Priddis wceimage
2015 Nathan Fyfe freimage
2016 Patrick Dangerfield geeimage
2017 Dustin Martin ricimage
2018 Tom Mitchell hawimage
2019 Nathan Fyfe freimage
2020 Dustin Martin ricimage
2021 Ollie Wines porimage

voting

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 2019 it has been awarded 106 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.

countback

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.

award ceremony

Twice since the award's inception in 1924 the count been held outside of Melbourne. It was held in Sydney in 1999 and at virtual event in 2020, based on the Gold Coast.

In years past, prospective Grand Final players have attended the ceremony in person, but in recent years non-Victorian Grand Final teams have declined to attend the ceremony due to the inconvenience of travel in such an important week; a live video link to Brownlow functions in their home city is done instead.

The event itself consists of the votes for each match being read out in succession by the CEO of the AFL, interspersed with a retrospective look at highlights from each round of the season and commentary from the broadcast network's usual football commentary team.

Unlike most award ceremonies, the votes are not tallied or even opened until they are actually announced on the night, so the drama is maintained until late on the actual night, when the result sometimes comes down to the final round of votes.

No one except the three umpires knows exactly who has been voted for, and as different umpires vote on different games, no one can be sure of who will win.

The integrity of the award is upheld by the tight security and secrecy surrounding the votes.
Once the umpires make their decision, the votes are locked away and transported by armoured security vehicles.

Bookmakers offer betting on the winner of the award. A number of plunges on supposed winners has led to elaborate security measures to ensure the votes are kept secret until the vote count.

glossary of terms

Australian Football has developed a unique and rich terminology.
This list is an alphabetical glossary of terms, jargon and slang.