In Australian sport, the best and fairest award recognises the player(s) adjudged to have had the best performance in a game or over a season for a given sporting club or competition. The awards are sometimes dependent on not receiving a suspension for misconduct or breaching the rules during that season. It is similar to most valuable player (MVP) awards in other team sports.

In the Australian Football League (AFL), the Brownlow Medal is awarded to the player who, provided he has not been suspended during the season, receives the most votes from the umpires for being the fairest and best player in games during the home-and-away season. In each game, the umpires award three votes to the player they judge to be the best afield in that game, two votes to the second-best player, and one vote to the third-best player. The votes are counted at a gala function on the Monday preceding the Grand Final. The eligibility of suspended or reprimanded players due to minor offences to win the award has frequently been questioned.[1][2]

Another best and fairest honour, the Leigh Matthews Trophy, is voted on by the AFL's players and awarded by their trade union, the AFL Players Association. Unlike the Brownlow, players who have served disciplinary suspensions during the season are still eligible to win this award.

The oldest such award is the Magarey Medal, awarded to the "fairest and most brilliant" player in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL). The award was created by William Ashley Magarey—then chairman of the league—and was first awarded in 1898.[3]

Best and fairest awards of major Australian football competitions
Medal League First awarded Award criteria Comments
Brownlow Medal Australian Football League 1924 Fairest and best Awarded by the league
AFL Women's best and fairest AFL Women's 2017 Fairest and best Awarded by the league
John Eales Medal Wallabies 2002 Best Awarded by the Australian Rugby Union and Rugby Union Players Association
Dally M Medal National Rugby League 1980 Best and fairest
Karyn Murphy Medal NRL Women's 2018 Best and fairest
Johnny Warren Medal A-League 1989 Best and fairest
Julie Dolan Medal W-League 1996 Best and fairest
Sandover Medal West Australian Football League 1921 Fairest and best Awarded by the league
Magarey Medal South Australian National Football League 1898 Fairest and most brilliant First awarded in 1898, it is the oldest league wide award in Australian rules football
J. J. Liston Trophy Victorian Football League 1945 Best and fairest Between 1923 and the 1941 the Recorder Cup was awarded, and between 1933 and 1940 the VFA Medal was also awarded
Grogan Medal Queensland AFL 1946 Best and fairest The De Little Medal was awarded earlier
William Leitch Medal Tasmanian State League 1930 Best and fairest A previous award also existed
Morrish Medal TAC Cup 1947 Best and fairest The Morrish Medal was also the best and fairest award in the VFL/AFL Under-19s competition which was superseded by the TAC Cup in 1992
Larke Medal AFL Under 18 Championships, Division 1 1976 Best
Hunter Harrison Medal AFL Under 18 Championships, Division 2 1992 Best
Phelan Medal Sydney AFL Best and fairest
Baldock Medal Northern Tasmanian Football League
Nichols Medal Northern Territory Football League 1946 Best and fairest
Mulrooney Medal AFL Canberra

See also


  1. ^ Hogan, Jesse (28 September 2011). "Brownlow shake-up". The Age. Melbourne.
  2. ^ "Only tweaking likely for Brownlow". 18 February 2005.
  3. ^ "History of the SANFL". Archived from the original on 19 June 2010.