|Mark of the Year|
|Awarded for||The best mark taken each season in the Australian Football League|
|Sponsored by||Four'N Twenty|
|Presented by||Australian Football League|
|Currently held by||Mitch Georgiades|
|Related||Goal of the Year|
In Australian rules football, a player can take a mark by catching the ball from a kick, which earns protection from tackles. In the Australian Football League (AFL), the mark subjectively judged the best in each season is named Mark of the Year.
The award is almost always given to spectacular marks – those where one player jumps upon another's back to reach the ball. Although there are no formal rules prescribing what a good mark is, some important factors are how high the player leaps, how long he stays in the air, whether his catch is clean, whether he catches the ball with extended arms, and how dramatic his fall is.
The award was inspired by a famous mark taken by Carlton's Alex Jesaulenko in the 1970 VFL Grand Final. Following Jesaulenko's mark, two football television shows – Channel Seven's World of Sport and The Winners on the ABC – began awarding the title "Mark of the Year" to the best marks as judged by their panels of football experts. The two shows would often choose different winners. Seven's award was more prestigious because the winning player received a car, but the ABC's edition only bestowed lesser prizes like mugs and bicycles – a disparity bemoaned by several players who only won the latter.
In 2001, the AFL itself began operating an official Mark of the Year award in competition with Seven, which became the more prominent award. Certain sources, like the AFL Record, only acknowledge these official winners as having taken Marks of the Year.
The competition is run in conjunction with the Goal of the Year contest, which recognises the best goal kicked during an AFL season. Two players have won both the "Mark of the Year" and "Goal of the Year" awards in the same season: Michael Mitchell and Peter Bosustow.
Currently also known by its sponsorship name as the Four'N Twenty AFL Mark of the Year, the competition is open to players in the AFL (Australian rules football's highest league). Winners receive an assortment of prizes, including $5,000 for their grassroots (junior) club, the use of a Toyota Kluger for 12 months and the Alex Jesaulenko Medal.
The current Victorian Football League (formerly known as the Victorian Football Association) runs a similar competition; however, the winners are selected only from the few games that are televised. Many other amateur Australian rules football leagues also run an equivalent competition, but they often rely on less comprehensive television footage; some amateur leagues rely on spectators who submit photos and amateur video recordings to the league, or previously to television shows such as The Footy Show.
Chris Tarrant's mark in Round 10, 2001, was previously used as the basis of the silhouette for the Mark of the Year logo despite, ironically, being beaten to the honour by Gary Moorcroft's Round 14 mark, considered by many to be one of the best marks of all time.
The competition was initiated following Alex Jesaulenko's mark over Graeme "Jerker" Jenkin in the 1970 VFL Grand Final and later recognised officially as the Mark of the Year; the medal awarded to the winner now bears his name. During the 1970s and early 1980s, the award was decided by a panel of football experts on Seven's World of Sport and during the 1980s and 1990s, the winning mark was determined by selected football journalists and experts. With minor modifications, the current selection process was first used in the 1998 season.
After each round of the regular AFL season, three "mark of the week" nominations are determined by a panel of football experts. The public can then vote for a weekly winner on the AFL website.
After the regular season's end, the title is given to a single mark, which is chosen by the All-Australian selection committee; the public is not given a say in the outcome. The selection committee is not restricted to selecting a winner from the mark of the week winners; indeed, in 2010, the two favourites both came in round 21, and although the public voted Brendon Goddard as mark of the week, the selection panel named Jurrah as Mark of the Year. The winner is announced during grand final week.
|Every Mark of the Year from 2001–2019|
|2001||Gary Moorcroft||Essendon||Western Bulldogs||14||Docklands Stadium|||
|2002||Jonathan Brown||Brisbane||Hawthorn||17||Melbourne Cricket Ground|||
|2003||Chris Tarrant||Collingwood||Geelong||18||Docklands Stadium|||
|2004||Ashley Sampi||West Coast||Melbourne||7||Melbourne Cricket Ground|||
|2005||Luke McPharlin||Fremantle||West Coast||3||Subiaco Oval|
|2006||Brad Ottens||Geelong||Sydney||5||Docklands Stadium|||
|2007||Michael Newton||Melbourne||North Melbourne||17||Docklands Stadium|||
|2008||Matthew Lloyd||Essendon||Melbourne||18||Melbourne Cricket Ground|||
|2009||Brett Burton||Adelaide||Carlton||22||Docklands Stadium|||
|2010||Liam Jurrah||Melbourne||Port Adelaide||21||Football Park|||
|2011||Andrew Krakouer||Collingwood||Adelaide||9||Docklands Stadium|||
|2012||Jeremy Howe||Melbourne||Sydney||8||Sydney Cricket Ground|||
|2013||Jamie Elliott||Collingwood||Port Adelaide||14||Football Park|||
|2014||Chad Wingard||Port Adelaide||St Kilda||12||Adelaide Oval|||
|2015||Nic Naitanui||West Coast||Geelong||9||Subiaco Oval|
|2016||Majak Daw||North Melbourne||Collingwood||18||Docklands Stadium|||
|2017||Joe Daniher||Essendon||St Kilda||17||Docklands Stadium|||
|2018||Isaac Heeney||Sydney||Melbourne||21||Melbourne Cricket Ground|||
|2019||Liam Ryan||West Coast||Melbourne||9||Perth Stadium|||
|2020||Sam Walsh||Carlton||Port Adelaide||7||Gabba|
|2021||Shai Bolton||Richmond||Geelong||8||Melbourne Cricket Ground|
|2022||Mitch Georgiades||Port Adelaide||Fremantle||16||Perth Stadium|
|1973||Alan Atkinson||Collingwood||Hawthorn||21||Waverley Park|||
|1974||Billy Picken||Collingwood||Richmond||9||Melbourne Cricket Ground|||
|1976||Billy Picken (2)||Collingwood||St Kilda||16||Victoria Park|||
|1978||Peter Moore||Collingwood||Carlton||18||Princes Park|||
|1979||Trevor Barker (Seven)||St Kilda||[data unknown/missing]|||
|Michael Roach (ABC)||Richmond||Hawthorn||5||Melbourne Cricket Ground|||
|1981||Peter Bosustow||Carlton||Geelong||18||Princes Park|||
|1982||Geoff Raines (ABC)||Richmond||Fitzroy||2||Melbourne Cricket Ground|
|1983||Ken Hunter (Seven)||Carlton||Richmond||1||Princes Park|||
|Peter Bosustow (ABC)||Carlton||[data unknown/missing]|||
|1984||Wayne Carroll (Seven)||Sydney||Footscray||16||Sydney Cricket Ground|||
|Denis Banks (ABC)||Collingwood||Footscray||10||Western Oval|||
|1985||Gary Ablett, Sr.||Geelong||North Melbourne||5||Kardinia Park|||
|1986||Tony Morwood (Seven)||Sydney||Fitzroy||SF||Melbourne Cricket Ground|||
|Alan Ezard (ABC)||Essendon||Carlton||5||Waverley Park|||
|1987||Warwick Capper (ABC)||Sydney||North Melbourne||10||Sydney Cricket Ground|||
|1988||Stephen Silvagni||Carlton||Collingwood||14||Melbourne Cricket Ground|||
|1989||Alastair Lynch||Fitzroy||North Melbourne||16||Melbourne Cricket Ground|||
|1990||Michael Mitchell||Richmond||Fitzroy||5||Melbourne Cricket Ground|||
|1991||Brett Allison||North Melbourne||Collingwood||11||Melbourne Cricket Ground|||
|1992||Nicky Winmar||St Kilda||Essendon||16||Melbourne Cricket Ground|||
|1993||Tony Modra||Adelaide||North Melbourne||8||Football Park|||
|1994||Gary Ablett, Sr. (2)||Geelong||Collingwood||7||Melbourne Cricket Ground|||
|1995||Shaun Smith||Melbourne||Brisbane Lions||22||The Gabba|||
|1996||Ben Hart||Adelaide||St Kilda||8||Football Park|||
|1997||Tony Modra (2)||Adelaide||North Melbourne||17||Football Park|||
|1998||Winston Abraham||North Melbourne||Port Adelaide||18||Manuka Oval|||
|1999||Matthew Lappin||Carlton||Essendon||1||Melbourne Cricket Ground|||
|2000||Tony Modra (3)||Fremantle||Geelong||1||Subiaco Oval|||
... CV includes the Mark of the Year in 1988 when he majestically ascended over Collingwood's Craig Starcevich to meet the footy about 4m above the MCG turf ...
... Allison won mark of the year in 1991 for a huge jump against Collingwood at the MCG.