Charles Brownlow Trophy

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.

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

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.