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

Main awards

The AFLPA nominates the following four awards as their main awards.

Leigh Matthews Trophy

Main article: Leigh Matthews Trophy

The Leigh Matthews Trophy 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.

Best captain

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.

Year Player Club
1986 Michael Tuck Hawthorn
1987 Stephen Kernahan Carlton
1988 Ross Glendinning West Coast
1989 no award
1990 Tony Shaw Collingwood
1991 no award
1992 Paul Roos Fitzroy
1993 no award
1994 Stephen Kernahan Carlton
1995 Wayne Carey North Melbourne
1996 no award
1997 no award
1998 Wayne Carey North Melbourne
1999 Paul Kelly Sydney
2000 Wayne Carey Kangaroos
2001 Michael Voss Brisbane Lions
2002 Michael Voss Brisbane Lions
2003 Michael Voss Brisbane Lions
2004 Michael Voss Brisbane Lions
2005 Mark Ricciuto Adelaide
2006 Mark Ricciuto Adelaide
2007 Jonathan Brown Brisbane Lions
2008 Tom Harley Geelong
2009 Jonathan Brown Brisbane Lions
2010 Brett Kirk Sydney
2011 Chris Judd Carlton
2012 Jobe Watson Essendon
2013 Joel Selwood Geelong
2014 Luke Hodge Hawthorn
2015 Robert Murphy Western Bulldogs
2016 Taylor Walker Adelaide
2017 Taylor Walker Adelaide
2018 Trent Cotchin Richmond
2019 Shannon Hurn West Coast
2020 Scott Pendlebury Collingwood
2021 Marcus Bontempelli Western Bulldogs
2022 Scott Pendlebury Collingwood

Best first-year player

Awarded annually since 1998, the Best First-Year Player award 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.

Year Player[3] Club
1998 Nick Stevens Port Adelaide
1999 Adam Goodes Sydney
2000 Paul Hasleby Fremantle
2001 Daniel Kerr West Coast
2002 Chris Judd West Coast
2003 Daniel Wells Kangaroos
2004 Aaron Davey Melbourne
2005 Brett Deledio Richmond
2006 Marc Murphy Carlton
2007 Joel Selwood Geelong
2008 Rhys Palmer Fremantle
2009 Daniel Rich Brisbane Lions
2010 dustin martin Fremantle
2011 Dyson Heppell Essendon
2012 Jeremy Cameron Greater Western Sydney
2013 Jaeger O'Meara Gold Coast
2014 Marcus Bontempelli Western Bulldogs
2015 Isaac Heeney Sydney
2016 Callum Mills Sydney
2017 Andrew McGrath Essendon
2018 Tim Kelly Geelong
2019 Josh daicos Carlton
2020 Caleb serong Fremantle
2021 Errol Gulden Sydney
2022 Nick Daicos Collingwood

Robert Rose Award

Awarded annually since 1991 to the most courageous player in the league. 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.

Year Player Club
1991 Gavin Brown Collingwood
1992 Gavin Brown (2) Collingwood
1993 Gavin Wanganeen Essendon
1994 Paul Kelly Sydney
1995 Paul Kelly (2) Sydney
1996 Paul Kelly (3) Sydney
1997 Paul Kelly (4) Sydney
1998 Glenn Archer North Melbourne
1999 Glenn Archer (2) Kangaroos
2000 Paul Kelly (5) Sydney
2001 Michael Voss Brisbane Lions
2002 Glenn Archer (3) Kangaroos
2003 Glenn Archer (4) Kangaroos
2004 David Teague Carlton
2005 Glenn Archer (5) Kangaroos
2006 Glenn Archer (6) Kangaroos
Brett Kirk Sydney
2007 Jonathan Brown Brisbane Lions
2008 Jonathan Brown (2) Brisbane Lions
2009 Joel Selwood Geelong
2010 Luke Hodge Hawthorn
2011 Jonathan Brown (3) Brisbane Lions
2012 Joel Selwood (2) Geelong
Beau Waters West Coast
2013 Joel Selwood (3) Geelong
2014 Joel Selwood (4) Geelong
2015 Luke Parker Sydney
2016 Luke Parker (2) Sydney
2017 Rory Sloane Adelaide
2018 Callan Ward Greater Western Sydney
2019 Dylan Grimes Richmond
2020 Dane Rampe Sydney
2021 Jack Steele St Kilda
2022 Liam Baker Richmond

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.


Year 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 are eligible for this 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 Chris Jones, Richard Hughes & Seven Network #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 & 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

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. Since 2017, the award has been presented to a winner from both the male Australian Football League competition, and the female AFL Women's competition.

Year Player Club
2001 Paul Licuria Collingwood
2002 Peter Bell Fremantle
2003 Simon Garlick Western Bulldogs
2004 Michael Wilson Port Adelaide
2005 James Clement Collingwood
2006 Josh Mahoney Port Adelaide
2007[5] Brett Burton Adelaide
Shane Wakelin Collingwood
2008[6] Jason Blake St Kilda
2009[7] Max Hudghton St Kilda
2010[8] Tim Callan Western Bulldogs
2011[9] Henry Slattery Essendon
2012[10] Alan Toovey Collingwood
2013[11] Matthew Boyd Western Bulldogs
2014[12] Jonathon Griffin Fremantle
2015[13] Mike Pyke Sydney
2016[14] Jamie Macmillan North Melbourne
2017[15] Ed Curnow Carlton
Renee Forth Greater Western Sydney (AFLW)
2018[16] David Mundy Fremantle
Tiarna Ernst Western Bulldogs (AFLW)
2019[17] Isaac Smith Hawthorn
Kate Gillespie-Jones North Melbourne (AFLW)
2020[18] Harry Taylor Geelong
Todd Goldstein North Melbourne
Libby Birch Melbourne (AFLW)

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. ^ "Ablett wins another award for Geelong". The Age. 29 September 2007. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  6. ^ Hogg, Alistair (9 September 2008). "Blake honoured with AFLPA award -". Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  7. ^ Williams, Rebecca (8 September 2009). "Joel Selwood lauded for his bravery". Herald Sun. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Kirk recognised by peers -". 7 September 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Heppell and Slattery win AFLPA Awards". 13 September 2011. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Cameron voted AFLPA Best First Year Player -". 12 September 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Boyd wins Education award at AFLPA MVP -". 11 September 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  12. ^ Phelan, Jennifer (9 September 2014). "AFLPA awards: Nat Fyfe rated best by his peers -". Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  13. ^ "Swans clean up at AFLPA Awards -". 16 September 2015. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  14. ^ Legg, Simon (13 September 2016). "Macmillan Finds His Work-Life Balance". AFLPA. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  15. ^ "Forth & Curnow maximising their chance". AFLPA. 12 September 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  16. ^ O'Connor, Brynn (30 August 2018). "Mundy and Ernst creating waves outside of football". AFLPA. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  17. ^ Di Pietro, Kavisha (29 August 2019). "Smith and Gillespie-Jones are top of the class". AFLPA. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  18. ^ Guthrie, Ben (22 September 2020). "It's all academic for Taylor, Goldstein and Birch". AFLPA. Retrieved 22 September 2020.