Best and fairest

In Australian sport, the best and fairest, or fairest and best in some competitions e.g. West Australian Football League, 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.

In the Australian Football League (formerly the VFL), 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. 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
MedalLeagueFirst awardedAward criteriaComments
Brownlow MedalAustralian Football League1924Fairest and bestAwarded by the league
AFL Women's best and fairestAFL Women's2017Fairest and bestAwarded by the league
John Eales MedalWallabies2002BestAwarded by the Australian Rugby Union and Rugby Union Players Association
Dally M MedalNational Rugby League1980Best and fairest
Karyn Murphy MedalNRL Women's2018Best and fairest
Johnny Warren MedalA-League1989Best and fairest
Julie Dolan MedalW-League1996Best and fairest
Sandover MedalWest Australian Football League1921Fairest and bestAwarded by the league
Magarey MedalSouth Australian National Football League1898Fairest and most brilliantFirst awarded in 1898, it is the oldest league wide award in Australian rules football
J. J. Liston TrophyVictorian Football League1945Best and fairestBetween 1923 and the 1941 the Recorder Cup was awarded, and between 1933 and 1940 the VFA Medal was also awarded
Grogan MedalQueensland AFL1946Best and fairestThe De Little Medal was awarded earlier
William Leitch MedalTasmanian State League1930Best and fairestA previous award also existed
Morrish MedalTAC Cup1947Best and fairestThe 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 MedalAFL Under 18 Championships, Division 11976Best
Hunter Harrison MedalAFL Under 18 Championships, Division 21992Best
Phelan MedalSydney AFLBest and fairest
Baldock MedalNorthern Tasmanian Football League
Nichols MedalNorthern Territory Football League1946Best and fairest
Mulrooney MedalAFL 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.
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