Brownlow Medal

The Charles Brownlow Trophy is an individual award given to the player judged  fairest and best in the League during the home-and-away season. Determined by votes cast by the officiating umpires after each game, it is considered the highest honour for individual players in the AFL.

brownlow medal winners (1924-2019)
year recipient club votes
1924 Edward Greeves Jr. 7
1925 Colin Watson 9
1926 Ivor Warne-Smith 9
1927 Syd Coventry 7
1928 Ivor Warne-Smith 8
1929 Albert Collier 6
1930 Harry Collier 4
1930 Allan Hopkins 4
1930 Stan Judkins 4
1931 Haydn Bunton Sr. 26
1932 Haydn Bunton Sr. 23
1933 Wilfred Smallhorn 18
1934 Dick Reynolds 19
1935 Haydn Bunton Sr. 24
1936 Denis Ryan 26
1937 Dick Reynolds 27
1938 Dick Reynolds 18
1939 Marcus Whelan 23
1940 Des Fothergill 32
1940 Herbie Matthews 32
1941 Norman Ware 23
1946 Don Cordner 20
1947 Bert Deacon 20
1948 Bill Morris 24
1949 Col Austen 23
1949 Ron Clegg 23
1950 Allan Ruthven 21
1951 Bernie Smith 23
1952 Roy Wright 21
1952 Bill Hutchison 21
1953 Bill Hutchison 26
1954 Roy Wright 29
1955 Fred Goldsmith 21
1956 Peter Box 22
1957 Brian Gleeson 24
1958 Neil Roberts 20
1959 Verdun Howell 20
1959 Bob Skilton 20
1960 John Schultz 20
1961 John James 21
1962 Alistair Lord 28
1963 Bob Skilton 20
1964 Gordon Collis 27
1965 Noel Teasdale 20
1965 Ian Stewart 20
1966 Ian Stewart 21
1967 Ross Smith 24
1968 Bob Skilton 24
1969 Kevin Murray 19
1970 Peter Bedford 25
1971 Ian Stewart 21
1972 Len Thompson 25
1973 Keith Greig 27
1974 Keith Greig 27
1975 Gary Dempsey 20
1976 Graham Moss 48
1977 Graham Teasdale 59
1978 Malcolm Blight 22
1979 Peter Moore 22
1980 Kelvin Templeton 23
1981 Bernie Quinlan 22
1981 Barry Round 22
1982 Brian Wilson 23
1983 Ross Glendinning 24
1984 Peter Moore 24
1985 Brad Hardie 22
1986 Robert DiPierdomenico 17
1986 Greg Williams 17
1987 John Platten 20
1987 Tony Lockett 20
1988 Gerard Healy 20
1989 Paul Couch 22
1990 Tony Liberatore 18
1991 Jim Stynes 25
1992 Scott Wynd 20
1993 Gavin Wanganeen 18
1994 Greg Williams 30
1995 Paul Kelly 21
1996 James Hird 21
1996 Michael Voss 21
1997 Robert Harvey 26
1998 Robert Harvey 32
1999 Shane Crawford 28
2000 Shane Woewodin 24
2001 Jason Akermanis 23
2002 Simon Black 25
2003 Mark Ricciuto 22
2003 Nathan Buckley 22
2003 Adam Goodes 22
2004 Chris Judd 30
2005 Ben Cousins 20
2006 Adam Goodes 26
2007 Jimmy Bartel 29
2008 Adam Cooney 24
2009 Gary Ablett Jr. 30
2010 Chris Judd 30
2011 Dane Swan 34
2012 Sam Mitchell 26
2012 Trent Cotchin 26
2013 Gary Ablett Jr. 28
2014 Matt Priddis 26
2015 Nathan Fyfe 31
2016 Patrick Dangerfield 35
2017 Dustin Martin 36
2018 Tom Mitchell 28
2019 Nathan Fyfe 33

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

The ceremony is currently held at Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex in Melbourne on the Monday five days prior to the AFL Grand Final.

The award ceremony has become increasingly elaborate, with footballers and their dates gradually becoming more fashion-conscious. This aspect of the night has become widely reported by gossip columns.

Only once since the award's inception in 1924 has the count been held outside of Melbourne, when it was held in Sydney in 1999.

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, currently Gillon McLachlan, interspersed with a retrospective look at highlights from each round of the season and commentary from the broadcast network's usual football commentary team.

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.

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.

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.

From 1959 until 1974 radio stations including 3UZ, 3KZ and 3AW broadcast the vote counts. SEN 1116 now covers the count. Direct television telecasts began in 1970, when the venue was the Dallas Brooks Hall, and have occurred every year since.

Some bookmakers offer betting on the winner of the Brownlow Medal. A number of well-publicised plunges on supposed winners has led to increasingly elaborate security measures to ensure the Brownlow votes are kept secret until the vote count.

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