The AFL Players Association (AFLPA) awards are a group of awards given annually, mainly to players in the Australian Football League and AFL Women's, voted for by all AFL and AFL Women's players.

Main awards

The AFLPA nominates the following as their main awards.

Most valuable player

In the VFL/AFL, the most valuable player award is named the Leigh Matthews Trophy. It has been awarded by the players to the best player of the season annually since 1982. It is the AFLPA equivalent of the Brownlow Medal (voted for by umpires), and a variety of media-sponsored MVP awards. Gary Ablett, Jr. (2007–09, 2012–13) is the only player to win the award five times. Greg Williams (1985, 1994), Wayne Carey (1995, 1998), Michael Voss (2002, 2003), Chris Judd (2006, 2011) and Nat Fyfe (2014, 2015) have won the award twice.

In the AFL Women's, it has been awarded since the inaugural season in 2017. Erin Phillips is the only player to have won the award more than once, claiming it in 2017 and 2019.

VFL/AFL (Leigh Matthews Trophy)

Season Player Team
1982 Leigh Matthews Hawthorn
1983 Terry Daniher Essendon
1984 Russell Greene Hawthorn
1985 Greg Williams Geelong
1986 Paul Roos Fitzroy
1987 Tony Lockett St Kilda
1988 Gerard Healy Sydney
1989 Tim Watson Essendon
1990 Darren Millane Collingwood
1991 Jim Stynes Melbourne
1992 Jason Dunstall Hawthorn
1993 Gary Ablett Sr. Geelong
1994 Greg Williams (2) Carlton
1995 Wayne Carey North Melbourne
1996 Corey McKernan North Melbourne
1997 Robert Harvey St Kilda
1998 Wayne Carey (2) North Melbourne
1999 Shane Crawford Hawthorn
2000 Anthony Koutoufides Carlton
2001 Andrew McLeod Adelaide
2002 Luke Darcy Western Bulldogs
Michael Voss Brisbane Lions
2003 Michael Voss (2) Brisbane Lions
2004 Nick Riewoldt St Kilda
2005 Ben Cousins West Coast
2006 Chris Judd West Coast
2007 Gary Ablett Jr. Geelong
2008 Gary Ablett Jr. (2) Geelong
2009 Gary Ablett Jr. (3) Geelong
2010 Dane Swan Collingwood
2011 Chris Judd (2) Carlton
2012 Gary Ablett Jr. (4) Gold Coast
2013 Gary Ablett Jr. (5) Gold Coast
2014 Nat Fyfe Fremantle
2015 Nat Fyfe (2) Fremantle
2016 Patrick Dangerfield Geelong
2017 Dustin Martin Richmond
2018 Tom Mitchell Hawthorn
2019 Patrick Cripps Carlton
2020 Lachie Neale Brisbane Lions
2021 Marcus Bontempelli Western Bulldogs
2022 Andrew Brayshaw Fremantle
2023 Marcus Bontempelli (2) Western Bulldogs

Best captain

In the VFL/AFL, the best captain award was given sporadically from 1986 until 1997, and has been given annually since 1998. Michael Voss won the award four times from 2001 to 2004, the most of any player.

In the AFL Women's, the award has been given since the inaugural season in 2017. Daisy Pearce holds the record for most wins with four, in 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2022 (S6).

Best first-year player

In the AFL, this award has been given annually since 1998. It is awarded to the best adjudged player who is in his first year on an AFL list.[1] The eligibility for the award is different from the AFL's other main award for the best performing young player, the AFL Rising Star, which can be won by any player aged under 21 as of 1 January that year, and who has not played more than ten matches before the start of the season.[2] Michael Barlow, for example, won the award in 2010 but was not eligible for the Rising Star. Brownlow Medallists Adam Goodes and Chris Judd have both won the award in the past.

In the AFL Women's, the award has been given since the second season in 2018. There is a similarly decreased focus on youth—for example, Richmond's Irish convert Eilish Sheerin won the award in 2022 (S7) at the age of 30.

AFL Women's

Season Player Club
2018 Chloe Molloy Collingwood
2019 Madison Prespakis Carlton
2020 Georgia Patrikios St Kilda
2021 Ellie McKenzie Richmond
2022 (S6) Charlie Rowbottom Gold Coast
2022 (S7) Eilish Sheerin Richmond
2023 Aishling Moloney Geelong

Most courageous player

In the AFL, the award for most courageous player is called the Robert Rose Award. It has been awarded annually since 1991 to the most courageous player in the league. The award is named after the Australian sportsman Robert Rose, who became a quadriplegic in 1974 after a car accident. Glenn Archer has won the award most often (with six wins), while Paul Kelly won it five times, including four consecutively from 1994 to 1997. Jonathan Brown won the award in 2007, 2008 and 2011. In 2009, Joel Selwood won the award for the first time, and then won it three consecutive times from 2012 to 2014.

In the AFL Women's, the award has been given since the inaugural season in 2017. Chelsea Randall has won the award five times (in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022 (S7)), the most of any player.

Other awards

The following awards are also currently or have previously been presented by the AFLPA.

Marn Grook Award

Named after the Indigenous game Marn Grook, the award was presented annually from 2001 to 2007 for the top emerging Indigenous player in the game, who must be within their first three seasons of AFL competition.


Season Player Club
2001 Adam Goodes Sydney
Dean Rioli[4] Essendon
2002 Leon Davis Collingwood
2003 Graham Johncock Adelaide
2004 Daniel Wells Kangaroos
2005 Aaron Davey Melbourne
2006 Danyle Pearce Port Adelaide
2007 Lance Franklin Hawthorn

Grant Hattam Award

This section is missing information about some nominated works. Please expand the section to include this information. Further details may exist on the talk page. (September 2020)

The Grant Hattam Award has been awarded annually since 1999 to the most outstanding piece of football journalism for that year as voted by the players. All forms of media from all around Australia, covering the AFL, AFL Women's or any other football topic, are eligible for the award.

The award was created in honour and memory of the late Grant Hattam, who was a leading sports and media lawyer.

Year Winner Nominated work
1999 Caroline Wilson (The Age)
2000 Mark Robinson (Herald Sun)
2001 Jake Niall (The Age)
2002 Mark Robinson (Herald Sun) "The importance of being honest", newspaper article on Essendon's Dean Rioli
2003 Michael Gleeson (Herald Sun) "Search for Cole comfort", newspaper article on Collingwood's Richard Cole
2004 Michael Davis (The Australian)
2005 Jon Ralph (Herald Sun)
2006 Jason Bennett (Fox Footy Channel) Headliners: The Peter Crimmins Story, two-part television documentary series on late Hawthorn champion Peter Crimmins
2007 Samantha Lane (The Age)
2008 Mike Sheahan (Herald Sun) "Champ tells how he beat the odds", newspaper article on Adelaide midfielder Simon Goodwin's gambling addiction
2009 Emma Quayle (The Age) "A street named desire", newspaper article on then draft hopefuls Chris Yarran, Michael Walters and Nic Naitanui
2010 Scott Gullan (Herald Sun) "'I cried for hours'", newspaper article on Geelong forward Mathew Stokes' battle with drugs
2011 Sam Edmund (Herald Sun) "The tyranny of distance" / "The red centre's angry boys", two-part newspaper article on the plight of Indigenous footballers
2012 Emma Quayle (The Age) "Short stories", newspaper article on the careers of Collingwood's Tom Hunter, St Kilda's Jarryd Allen and Essendon's Darcy Daniher
2013 Saturday Night Footy (Seven Sport) #Discovered: Jeremy Cameron, television feature piece on a day in the life of Greater Western Sydney forward Jeremy Cameron
2014 Michael Gleeson (The Age) "On a wing and a prayer with footy's faithful", newspaper article on the professional footballers who regularly practice religion
2015 Adrian Brown and Western Bulldogs Sons of the West, five-part web documentary series on Robert Murphy and the Western Bulldogs' 2015 season
2016 Emma Quayle (The Age) "'I needed to see what else was in the world'", newspaper article on Essendon forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti
2017 Fox Footy Fyfe, six-part television documentary series on Fremantle midfielder Nat Fyfe's return from injury
2018 Neroli Meadows (Fox Footy) On the Mark with Hugh Greenwood, television feature piece on Adelaide midfielder Hugh Greenwood's ill mother
2019 Michael Gleeson (The Age) "A feast of footy, family and religion", newspaper article on Essendon defender Adam Saad's practice of religion
2020 Russell Jackson (ABC News) "The persecution of Robert Muir is the story football doesn't want to hear", web article on the racial abuse and mistreatment of former St Kilda midfielder Robbie Muir
2021 Liz Walsh (The Advertiser)[5] "It's a journey of discovery for us", newspaper article on North Melbourne players Kaitlyn Ashmore and Mia King's discovery of their Indigenous heritage
2022 Thursday Night Football (Seven Sport)[6] Interview with Carlton player Sam Docherty on his return to football after having cancer
2023 Sarah Black (AFL Media)[7] "'I'm a better mum because of it': Inside Garing's return to footy", web article on Geelong player Renee Garing's return to football after giving birth

Education and Training Excellence Award

The Education and Training Excellence Award has been given annually since 2001 to the player who displays the best all-round performance in balancing football with external education and training. From 2001 to 2016, it was awarded to AFL players only. Since 2017, the award has been presented to at least one winner from both the AFL and AFL Women's each year.

  1. ^ Only one award was given across the two 2022 AFLW seasons.[23]
  2. ^ Hamilton played for Sydney in season seven, during which the award was given. However, she played for North Melbourne in the season held earlier in 2022.[25]

22 Under 22 team

Main article: 22 Under 22 team

Each season, the AFLPA also names the 22 Under 22 team for both the AFL and AFL Women's. These are full teams of 22 (AFL) or 21 (AFL Women's) players. The AFLPA selects a team of 40, before the final team is selected by fans. To be eligible for selection, players must be aged 22 or under for the entire season (including finals). In the AFL, the first team was named in 2013, with a respective team also named for the 2012 season. In the AFL Women's, the first team was named in 2020, with a respective team named which covered the first three seasons from 2017 to 2019.

Mike Fitzpatrick Scholarships

Awarded annually to young aspiring non-AFL players, attempting to help them balance external study and training with football training.


  1. ^ "Who is the AFL's best young gun?". 26 June 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  2. ^ "Who is eligible for the NAB AFL Rising Star award?". Bigpond. 29 April 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  3. ^ AFL Players' Association - Rhys Palmer wins Best First Year Player Archived January 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Rioli wins inaugural Marn Grook Award -". 11 September 2001. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  5. ^ aflplayers [@AFLPlayers] (2 September 2021). "Congratulations to @theTiserSport's @lizwalsh77 on being awarded the Grant Hattam Award for Journalism Excellence, proudly presented by @ThomsonGeer, for her story on @NorthAFLW's @kaitashmore and Mia King" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  6. ^ Beaton, Bobby (24 August 2022). "More than Andy: Brayshaw wins MVP award". AFL Players Association. Retrieved 30 August 2023.
  7. ^ aflplayers [@AFLPlayers] (30 August 2023). "Congratulations to AFL Media's Sarah Black who is the recipient of the Grant Hattam Award for her story on Renee Garing's return to football. #AFLPAMVP23" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  8. ^ "Ablett wins another award for Geelong". The Age. 29 September 2007. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  9. ^ Hogg, Alistair (9 September 2008). "Blake honoured with AFLPA award -". Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  10. ^ Williams, Rebecca (8 September 2009). "Joel Selwood lauded for his bravery". Herald Sun. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Kirk recognised by peers -". 7 September 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Heppell and Slattery win AFLPA Awards". 13 September 2011. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  13. ^ "Cameron voted AFLPA Best First Year Player -". 12 September 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  14. ^ "Boyd wins Education award at AFLPA MVP -". 11 September 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  15. ^ Phelan, Jennifer (9 September 2014). "AFLPA awards: Nat Fyfe rated best by his peers -". Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  16. ^ "Swans clean up at AFLPA Awards -". 16 September 2015. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  17. ^ Legg, Simon (13 September 2016). "Macmillan Finds His Work-Life Balance". AFLPA. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  18. ^ a b "Forth & Curnow maximising their chance". AFLPA. 12 September 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  19. ^ a b O'Connor, Brynn (30 August 2018). "Mundy and Ernst creating waves outside of football". AFLPA. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  20. ^ a b Di Pietro, Kavisha (29 August 2019). "Smith and Gillespie-Jones are top of the class". AFLPA. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  21. ^ a b Guthrie, Ben (22 September 2020). "It's all academic for Taylor, Goldstein and Birch". AFLPA. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  22. ^ a b Beaton, Bobby (2 September 2021). "'Bont' crowned players' best". AFL Players Association. Retrieved 31 August 2023.
  23. ^ a b c 2022 AFL Player's annual report (PDF) (Report). AFL Players' Association. 2022. pp. 30–31. Retrieved 31 August 2023.
  24. ^ "Fox wins AFLPA Education and Training". Sydney Swans. 30 August 2023. Retrieved 31 August 2023.
  25. ^ "Alexia Hamilton". Australian Football. Retrieved 31 August 2023.