Mark of the Year
Awarded forThe best mark taken each season in the Australian Football League
Sponsored byFour'N Twenty
Presented byAustralian Football League
First awarded2001
Currently held byHarry Himmelberg
RelatedGoal of the Year
Marks where one player jumps upon another's back for height – known as "spectacular marks" – are often named Mark 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.[1]

The competition 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 showsChannel 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.[1]

The award 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 and goal awards in the same season: Peter Bosustow (1981) and Michael Mitchell (1990).


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;[2] the medal awarded to the winner now bears his name.[3][4] During the 1970s and early 1980s, the award was decided by a panel of football experts on Seven's World of Sport. During the 1980s and 1990s, the winning mark was determined by selected football journalists and experts.[3] With minor modifications, the current selection process was first used in the 1998 season.[5]

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 Season Guide, only acknowledge these official winners as having taken Marks of the Year. 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.

Eligibility and prizes

The competition is open to players in the AFL, Australian rules football's highest league.[3][6] Winners currently receive a prize of $10,000 and the Alex Jesaulenko Medal.[7]

For the majority of the competition's existence, the overall winner has been rewarded with a car, typically the model of whichever auto manufacturer was sponsoring the award at the time. In 1983, Carlton's Ken Hunter won a Holden Commodore SL/X for his mark of the year.[8] The following year's winner, Sydney's Wayne Carroll, scored a Nissan Bluebird TRX for his efforts. Richmond's Michael Mitchell received a Ford Laser in 1990 for his win following a phone-in poll that attracted 250,000 callers.[9] Throughout Toyota Australia's sponsorship of the competition in the mid-2000s, players were often granted use of the latest Toyota vehicle (such as the Kluger or Aurion) for 12 months, alongside a $5,000 donation to their grassroots club.[10][11]

Such is the ongoing public association between taking mark of the year and winning "the car", multiple players have believed such a prize was still awarded more than a decade after its cessation.[12][13]

Selection process

After each round of the regular AFL season, three "mark of the week" nominations are selected by the AFL. Members of the public are then invited to vote for a weekly winner on the AFL website. Weekly polls can occasionally be subject to vote brigading by supporters of larger clubs, which has led to highly favoured marks being overlooked for the weekly prize by more underwhelming nominations.[14] Under the current sponsorship arrangement with Four'n Twenty, weekly voters go in the draw to win $5,000, a pie warmer and a year's worth of meat pies.

After the regular season's end, the title is given to a single mark;[15] at times the eligibility process has extended into the finals series.[11] The potential winner is not restricted to players who won mark of the week; 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 Liam Jurrah as mark of the year. As of 2023, the AFL game analysis committee selects the three finalists from a list of 28 (the 23 weekly winners, plus five additional marks selected by AFL Media) based on a 5-4-3-2-1 vote given by each member of the committee.

The overall winner, currently announced on Brownlow Medal night, is then determined by a combination of committee voting (counted for 10 votes) and public voting (counted for one vote). At one stage, the overall winner was determined purely by the public, which led to widespread outrage in 2017 when Essendon's Joe Daniher took out the title over a mark taken by Collingwood's Jeremy Howe which many deemed to be one of the greatest of all time.[16] Howe's manager at the time claimed that his player lost up to $40,000 in endorsements and image rights based on the unexpected loss.[17] The league amended the voting process following the public debate.[18]

Annual winners

Official recipients

Table of winners[19]
Year Winner Club Opposition Rd. Venue
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 Stadium Australia
2007 Michael Newton Melbourne Kangaroos 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
2023 Harry Himmelberg Greater Western Sydney Adelaide 1 Giants Stadium

Channel Seven and ABC recipients

Table of winners
Year Winner Club Opposition Rd. Venue Ref.
1971 [data missing]
1973 Alan Atkinson Collingwood Hawthorn 21 Waverley Park [20][21]
1974 Billy Picken Collingwood Richmond 9 Melbourne Cricket Ground [21]
1975 [data missing]
1976 Billy Picken (2) Collingwood St Kilda 16 Victoria Park [21]
1977 [data missing]
1978 Peter Moore Collingwood Carlton 18 Princes Park [22][23][24]
1979 Trevor Barker (Seven) St Kilda [data missing] [25]
Michael Roach (ABC) Richmond Hawthorn 5 Melbourne Cricket Ground [25]
1980 [data missing]
1981 Peter Bosustow Carlton Geelong 18 Princes Park [26]
1982 Geoff Raines (ABC) Richmond Fitzroy 2 Melbourne Cricket Ground
1983 Ken Hunter (Seven) Carlton Richmond 1 Princes Park [27]
Peter Bosustow (ABC) Carlton [data missing] [28]
1984 Wayne Carroll (Seven) Sydney Footscray 16 Sydney Cricket Ground [29][30]
Denis Banks (ABC) Collingwood Footscray 10 Western Oval [30]
1985 Gary Ablett, Sr. Geelong North Melbourne 5 Kardinia Park [31]
1986 Tony Morwood (Seven) Sydney Fitzroy SF Melbourne Cricket Ground [32]
Alan Ezard (ABC) Essendon Carlton 5 Waverley Park [33]
1987 Warwick Capper (ABC) Sydney North Melbourne 10 Sydney Cricket Ground [27][34]
1988 Stephen Silvagni Carlton Collingwood 14 Melbourne Cricket Ground [35]
1989 Alastair Lynch Fitzroy North Melbourne 16 Melbourne Cricket Ground [36]
1990 Michael Mitchell Richmond Fitzroy 5 Melbourne Cricket Ground [37]
1991 Brett Allison North Melbourne Collingwood 11 Melbourne Cricket Ground [38][39]
1992 Nicky Winmar St Kilda Essendon 16 Melbourne Cricket Ground [40]
1993 Tony Modra Adelaide North Melbourne 8 Football Park [41]
1994 Gary Ablett, Sr. (2) Geelong Collingwood 7 Melbourne Cricket Ground [42]
1995 Shaun Smith Melbourne Brisbane Lions 22 The Gabba [43]
1996 Ben Hart Adelaide St Kilda 8 Football Park [44]
1997 Tony Modra (2) Adelaide North Melbourne 17 Football Park [41]
1998 Winston Abraham North Melbourne Port Adelaide 18 Manuka Oval [45]
1999 Matthew Lappin Carlton Essendon 1 Melbourne Cricket Ground [46]
2000 Tony Modra (3) Fremantle Geelong 1 Subiaco Oval [41]

Similar competitions

State leagues such as the South Australian National Football League and the West Australian Football League hold their own mark of the year competitions each season, with public voting determining the overall winner.[47][48] Many other semi-professional and amateur Australian rules football leagues also run an equivalent competition, with the increasing prevalence of league-wide web broadcasting allowing for a more comprehensive nomination process.[49][50] Nation-wide promotions are also intermittently run, encouraging local footballers of all age groups to submit their home videos.[51]


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