J. J. Liston Trophy
Awarded forThe fairest and best player in the Victorian Football League
Presented byVFL
First awarded1945
Last awardedOngoing
Currently held byJarryd Lyons (Brisbane, 2023)

The J. J. Liston Trophy is awarded annually to the best and fairest senior player in the Victorian Football League (formerly the Victorian Football Association). It is named after J.J. Liston, a businessman, civic leader and sports administrator who was fundamental in advancing sport in Australia, particularly Australian Rules Football and Soccer.


The first award for the Association best and fairest player was the Woodham Cup, named after North Melbourne committeeman Alf Woodham, which was first awarded in 1923. The Woodham Cup was renamed the Recorder Cup, named after the Association's official match-day publication, in 1926.[1] Starting from 1933, a second award, the V.F.A. Medal (or Association Medal), was awarded concurrently. From 1933 until 1939, both the Recorder Cup and the V.F.A. Medal were presented annually based on the votes of the umpires; but the two awards were given based on different voting systems.

The two best and fairest awards were combined into one in 1940, when the Association dispensed with the Recorder Cup voting system; in 1940 and 1941, both the V.F.A. Medal and the Recorder Cup were awarded as trophies to the same player based on the same set of votes.[2] The Association went into recess from 1942 until 1944 during World War II; upon resumption in 1945, and continuously since, the winning player has received one trophy, the J. J. Liston Trophy, named after long-term Association president John James Liston, who died in 1944.[3]

From 1961 until 1988, when the Association operated in two divisions, the Liston Trophy was awarded to the best and fairest in Division 1. A separate award, known as the J. Field Medal, was awarded for the second division.

Voting system

The current voting system for the J. J. Liston Trophy is the same as for the Australian Football League's Brownlow Medal. At the conclusion of each game, the field umpires confer, and award three votes to the player deemed best on ground, two votes to the player deemed second-best on ground, and one vote to the player deemed third best on ground. A player is ineligible to win the award if he is suspended for a reportable offence during the season.[4] If more than one player ties for the highest number of votes, each is awarded a Liston Trophy jointly.

Past voting systems

Initial voting rules for the Woodham and Recorder cups, used from 1924 until 1932, saw the field umpire award two votes in each game: one to the best player on each team; the player with the most votes at the end of the season won the cup.[5] This was amended in 1933, such that the umpire awarded a single vote to the overall best player on the ground; this voting system was used from 1933 until 1939.[6]

When the V.F.A. Medal was established in 1933, its voting system was: the field umpire and each of the two goal umpires separately awarded two votes to the player they deemed best on ground, and one vote to the player they deemed second-best on ground – a total of nine votes awarded per game, with any player able to poll a maximum of six;[7] this voting system was retained when the Recorder Cup and V.F.A. Medals were combined in 1940, and was then used for Liston Trophy voting until 1980.[8]

The system was altered in 1981 when a second field umpire was introduced; after this change, each field umpire awarded votes to the best two players on a 2-1 basis, but the goal umpires did not, giving a new total of six votes per game, with any player able to poll a maximum of four.[9] This system was used only in 1981, and the present day 3-2-1 voting system, based on agreement between the two (and later, three) field umpires, was adopted in 1982.[10]

During the 1930s, multiple players could win the V.F.A. Medal if they were tied on total number of votes. When the Liston Trophy was instituted in 1945, a countback system was introduced, such that if two players tied on votes, the award would go to the player who polled the higher number of first preferences; and (after 1981) if still tied, the higher number of second preferences; if these countbacks failed to separate the players (as occurred in 1978), the players were joint winners. The countback system was abandoned from 1988, making total votes the only criterion for the award;[11] and, in September 1989, the Association amended the history books and awarded Liston Trophies retrospectively to players who had been beaten on a countback, following by five months a similar action taken by the Victorian Football League regarding players who had been beaten for the Brownlow Medal on countback.[12]


J. J. Liston Trophy

2005 winner Paul Johnson
1946 winner Bill Findlay
Year Winner Club
2023[13] Jarryd Lyons Brisbane
2022[14] Tom Gribble Werribee
2021 Not awarded[15]
2020 Season not contested
2019[16] Tom Gribble Werribee
2018 Anthony Miles
Michael Gibbons
2017[17] Jacob Townsend Richmond
2016[18] Michael Gibbons Williamstown
2015[19] Nick Rippon North Ballarat
2014 [20] Alex Woodward Box Hill
2013 [21] Mitch Hallahan
Steve Clifton
Jordan Schroder
Box Hill
North Ballarat
2012 Ben Ross Werribee
2011 Shane Valenti Port Melbourne[22]
2010 Steve Clifton
Shane Valenti
North Ballarat
Port Melbourne[23]
2009 Myles Sewell North Ballarat
2008 James Podsiadly Werribee
2007 James Byrne Geelong
2006 Aaron Edwards Frankston
2005 Ian Callinan
Paul Johnson
2004 Julian Field North Ballarat
2003 David Robbins Sandringham
2002 Sam Mitchell Box Hill
2001 Brett Backwell
Ezra Poyas
2000 David Robbins Springvale
1999 John Georgiou Frankston
1998 Michael Frost Werribee
1997 Justin Crough Sandringham
1996 Paul Dooley Williamstown
1995 Paul Satterley Werribee
1994 Cory Young Oakleigh
1993 Michael Sinni Prahran
1992 Joe Rugolo Sandringham
1991 Anthony Eames Werribee
1990 Joe Garbuio
Steven Harkins
Matthew Burrows
Stuart Nicol
Port Melbourne
1989 Saade Ghazi Williamstown
1988 Gary Sheldon
Brett McTaggart
1987 Barry Round Williamstown
1986 Tony West Brunswick
1985 Neil MacLeod Sandringham
1984 Peter Geddes Frankston
1983 Bill Swan Port Melbourne
1982 Geoff Austen
Bill Swan†
David Wenn†
Port Melbourne
1981 Vic Aanensen Port Melbourne
1980 Stephen Allender Port Melbourne
1979 Vic Aanensen Port Melbourne
1978 Barry Nolan
Trevor Durward
1977 Bill Thompson Dandenong
1976 Danny Hibbert Dandenong
1975 Derek King Oakleigh
1974 Ray Goold Sunshine
1973 Ray Shaw Preston
1972 Don McKenzie Sunshine
1971 Laurie Hill Preston
1970 Fred Cook Yarraville
1969 Laurie Hill Preston
1968 Dick Telford Preston
1967 Jim Sullivan Coburg
1966 Alan Poore Waverley
1965 Alan Poore Waverley
1964 Bill Jones Oakleigh
1963 John Clegg Yarraville
1962 Keith Burns Sandringham
1961 Doug Beasy Box Hill
1960 Don Brown Box Hill
1959 Bryan Waters Dandenong
1958 Keith Woolnough Northcote
1957 Ken Ross Camberwell
1956 Johnny Martin Williamstown
1955 Les Moroney Moorabbin
1954 Ted Turner Brighton
1953 Ted Henrys Preston
1952 Frank Johnson Port Melbourne
1951 Cec Hiscox Northcote
1950 Frank Stubbs Camberwell
1949 Jack Blackman Preston
1948 Russ McIndoe Brighton
1947 Stan Tomlins Sandringham
1946 Bill Findlay Port Melbourne
1945 Eric Beard Oakleigh

† denotes the award was won retrospectively.

Recorder Cup/Woodham Cup

1941 winner Des Fothergill
Year Winner Club
1941* Des Fothergill Williamstown
1940* Jack Davis Brighton
1939 Pat Hartnett Brighton
1938 Arthur Cutting
Bill Downie
1937 Neville Huggins Williamstown
1936 Bert Hyde
Peter Reville
1935 Les White Prahran
1934 Danny Warr Preston
1933 Charlie Stanbridge Williamstown
1932 Bob Ross Northcote
1931 Bill Koop Prahran
1930 Edward Hyde Port Melbourne
1929 Ted Bourke Sandringham
1928 Frank Smith Prahran
1927 Ernie Martin Coburg
1926 William "Bluey" Summers Preston
1925 Tommy Downs Northcote
1924 Bob Johnson Northcote
1923 Con McCarthy Footscray

* Awarded under V.F.A. Medal voting rules.

V.F.A. Medal

Year Winner Club
1941 Des Fothergill Williamstown
1940 Jack Davis Brighton
1939 Arthur Cutting Williamstown
1938 Arthur Cutting Williamstown
1937 Neville Huggins
Jack Lowry
1936 Neville Huggins Williamstown
1935 Fred Brooks
Jim Dowling
1934 Jim Dowling Brunswick
1933 Charlie Stanbridge
Dave Withers

J. Field Medal

J. Field Medal
Awarded forThe fairest and best player in the VFA Second Division
Presented byVFA
First awarded1961
Last awarded1988

From 1961 until 1988, the J. Field Medal was awarded to the best and fairest in the Association's second division. The award was originally known simply as the Division 2 Best and Fairest until 1968, then was named after former secretary Jack Field in 1969.[24]

The Field Medal voting system was identical to the Liston Trophy voting in all years except 1981, when Division 1 had switched to a two-umpire system but Division 2 was still using a single umpire; in that year, the Field Trophy voting system was unchanged from 1980. As for the Liston Trophy, a countback existed until 1988 to break ties, and retrospective Field Medals were later awarded to players who had lost on this countback.

J. Field Medal

Year Winner Club
1961 Pat Fitzgerald[25] Sunshine
1962 Garry Butler[26] Prahran
1963 Dick Perry[27] Geelong West
1964 Shaun Crosbie[28] Sunshine
1965 John Bradbury[29] Mordialloc
1966 Ian Williams[30] Geelong West
1967 Larry Rowe[31]
Colin Sleep
1968 Ian Nankervis[32] Williamstown
1969 Jim Sullivan[24] Coburg
1970 Greg Smith[33] Mordialloc
1971 Rodney Evans[34] Camberwell
1972 Wayne Schimmelbusch[35] Brunswick
1973 Geoff Bryant[36] Box Hill
1974 Ron Allen[37] Waverley
1975 Geoff Bryant[38] Box Hill
1976 Colin Boyd[39] Williamstown
1977 Derek King[40] Oakleigh
1978 Lance Styles[41] Waverley
1979 Jeff Edwards[42] Northcote
1980 Kevin Sait[8] Yarraville
1981 Brian Matthey[43] Oakleigh
1982 Mark Williams[10]
Russ Hodges
1983 Terry Walsh[44] Mordialloc
1984 Peter Nicholson[45]
David Callander†
Box Hill
1985 Darren Hall[46] Dandenong
1986 Darren Hall[47] Dandenong
1987 Peter Rogerson[48] Waverley
1988 Stephen Sells[11] Werribee


  1. ^ Fiddian, Marc (2004), The VFA: a history of the Victorian Football Association, 1877–1995, p. 29
  2. ^ Percy Taylor (16 September 1940). "Exciting V.F.A. semi-final". The Argus. Melbourne. p. 11.
  3. ^ "Wind spoils game". Williamstown Chronicle. Williamstown, VIC. 29 June 1945. p. 2.
  4. ^ "Goodes to miss Roosters' pivotal clash with Williamstown". The Courier. Ballarat, VIC. 27 July 2009. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Notes". Record. Emerald Hill, VIC. 12 July 1924. p. 2.
  6. ^ "C. Stanbridge – best and fairest in Association". Sporting Globe. Melbourne. 16 September 1933. p. 3.
  7. ^ "Association "best and fairest" – two players equal". The Argus. Melbourne. 14 September 1933. p. 14.
  8. ^ a b "Port ruckman wins J. J. Liston Trophy". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. 11 September 1952. p. 24.
  9. ^ Marc Fiddian (27 August 1981). "Aanensen wins his second Liston". The Age. Melbourne. p. 28.
  10. ^ a b Marc Fiddian (26 August 1982). "Austen wins Liston". The Age. Melbourne. p. 30.
  11. ^ a b Linda Pearce (25 August 1988). "Mates tie Liston". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. p. 74.
  12. ^ Amanda Buivids (21 September 1989). "Champs rewarded at last". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. p. 83.
  13. ^ "Lyons Makes History After Being Crowned the VFL's Best for 2023". Brisbane Lions. 18 September 2023. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  14. ^ "2022 VFL and VFLW Awards: Gribble and Nanscawen go back-to-back". afl.com.au. 13 September 2022. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  15. ^ Rhodes, Brendan (1 September 2021). "VFL season called off, VFLW Grand Final a League priority". afl.com.au. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  16. ^ Paul Amy (10 September 2019). "Werribee midfielder Tom Gribble claims VFL Liston Trophy with runaway victory". Wyndham Leader. Werribee, VIC. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  17. ^ Prime, Toby (11 September 2017). "Jacob Townsend takes out J.J. Liston Trophy as VFL's best and fairest player". Herald Sun.
  18. ^ Waterworth, Ben (13 September 2016). "Michael Gibbons gives AFL chances big boost by winning VFL JJ Liston Trophy". Fox Sports.
  19. ^ "Rippon claims JJ Liston Trophy". The Courier. Ballarat, VIC. 7 September 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  20. ^ "Woodward wins J.J. Liston Trophy". VFL. 1 September 2014.
  21. ^ "Three-way tie for Liston Trophy - VFL - GameDay".
  22. ^ Diamond, Brett (13 September 2011). "Valenti seizes second Liston". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  23. ^ Mark Towson Shane Valenti takes out Liston Trophy, Retrieved September 12th, 2010.
  24. ^ a b Noel Pascoe (21 August 1969). "Sullivan top in three divisions". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. p. 59.
  25. ^ "VFA medal to P. Fitzgerald". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. 17 August 1961. p. 42.
  26. ^ "Prahran rover best player". The Age. Melbourne. 16 August 1962. p. 24.
  27. ^ "BIG day for little man.". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. 22 August 1963. p. 52.
  28. ^ Scot Palmer (20 August 1964). "Best & fairest". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. p. 56.
  29. ^ "John was best". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. 19 August 1965. p. 52.
  30. ^ "Geelong West player wins VFA award". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. 18 August 1966. p. 54.
  31. ^ Marc Fiddian (17 August 1967). "Rowe wins award on countback". The Age. Melbourne. p. 21.
  32. ^ Noel Pascoe (8 August 1968). "Nankervis scored". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. p. 67.
  33. ^ "VFA best". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. 13 August 1970. p. 58.
  34. ^ Terry O'Halloran (19 August 1971). "Trophy to Rod Evans". The Age. Melbourne. p. 24.
  35. ^ "Award to Brunswick". The Age. Melbourne. 17 August 1972. p. 28.
  36. ^ John Holland (16 August 1973). "Bruant takes VFA award". The Age. Melbourne. p. 31.
  37. ^ "Ron Allen wins Field Medal". The Age. Melbourne. 29 August 1974. p. 25.
  38. ^ Ken Piesse (28 August 1975). "King Derek". The Age. Melbourne. pp. 28, 26.
  39. ^ Marc Fiddian (26 August 1976). "Hibbert wins Liston". The Age. Melbourne. pp. 32, 36.
  40. ^ Marc Fiddian (1 September 1977). "Bill runs away with Liston". The Age. Melbourne. p. 26.
  41. ^ Marc Fiddian (31 August 1978). "Trevor, Barry tie for Liston Trophy". The Age. Melbourne. p. 30.
  42. ^ Marc Fiddian (30 August 1979). "Aanensen's Liston ends Port drought". The Age. Melbourne. pp. 32, 29.
  43. ^ Marc Fiddian (27 August 1981). "Aanensen wins his second Liston". The Age. Melbourne. pp. 28, 27.
  44. ^ Gerry Carmen (25 August 1983). "Swan wins Liston". The Age. Melbourne. p. 28.
  45. ^ Dennis Jose (30 August 1984). "Geddes walks away with Liston". The Age. Melbourne. p. 24.
  46. ^ Brendan Moloney (29 August 1985). "MacLeod romps away with Liston". The Age. Melbourne. p. 29.
  47. ^ Hugo Kelly (28 August 1986). "Brunswick's West wins Liston in last-vote thriller". The Age. Melbourne. p. 28.
  48. ^ Paul Cunningham (27 August 1987). "Triumph second the Round". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. pp. 87–88.