Goal of the Year (AFL)

The Goal of the Year is a competition for the best goal kicked in the Australian Football League (AFL) during that season. It is run in conjunction with the Mark of the Year competition and is currently sponsored by Coates Hire. The winner is awarded the Phil Manassa Medal.[1] The concept of awards for the goal and mark of the year is thought to have been initiated in 1970, as an unofficial award given by the media to Alex Jesaulenko following his famous mark in that season's grand final. The official awards were first given in 2001. Eddie Betts has been awarded Goal of the Year on an unparalleled four occasions (2006, 2015, 2016 and 2019), the most of any player, and is the only player to win the award in consecutive seasons.

Selection process

Each week, three of the best goals of the round (including the finals) are selected as nominees. A panel of AFL selectors choose the winning goal of the round.

For the first time in 2006, the general public are able to vote for nominated marks via the AFL's website. The results of the public voting are combined with the panel's votes. Any one of the goals of the round is able to win the official Goal of the Year.

The overall winner is selected from the 25 weekly winners (22 rounds and the first three weeks of the finals) by the AFL All Australian selection committee; the public is not given a say in the final outcome. The winner receives the Phil Manassa Medal, a replica of the perpetual Toyota AFL Goal of the Year Trophy, use of a Toyota Aurion for twelve months, and $10,000 for their grassroots football club. The winner will be announced on Grand Final day.

Goal of the Year is generally awarded to a player who creates and scores a difficult goal in play; it has never been, and is unlikely to ever be, awarded to a goal kicked from a set shot. Historically, it has been the quality of the creation of the goal which determines the winner, rather than the difficulty of the shot itself. As such, simply kicking a goal from the boundary line will not guarantee a player Goal of the Year, but if they have roved the ball cleanly off a pack (like Jason Akermanis in 2002) or won the ball by stealing or smothering it from an opponent (like Peter Bosustow in 1981), then they will generally come into Goal of the Year calculations. Players are also often rewarded for orchestrating a long run down the field which ends with a big goal on the run: Daniel Kerr in 2003 and Michael McGuane in 1994 are memorable examples.

Many of the best goals in the VFL/AFL were featured in a VHS/DVD named Golden Goals.

Goal of the year

Official winners (2001–present)

  Player is still active in AFL
  Player also won Mark of the Year for the same year
2019Eddie BettsAdelaideRound 5 goal against Gold Coast at Adelaide Oval. In his 300th game, Betts kicked a classic left-footed banana from about 30m out on the boundary line of the same left hand pocket as his 2015 and 2016 Goal of the Year winners.[2]
2018Jack HigginsRichmondRound 19 goal against Collingwood at the MCG, Higgins kicked it backwards[3]
2017Daniel RioliRichmondRound 3 goal against West Coast at the MCG, Rioli successfully kept the ball in bounds up against the boundary line and kicked a right foot banana on the run 35m out from goal.[4]
2016Eddie BettsAdelaideRound 10 goal against Greater Western Sydney at Adelaide Oval. Betts successfully trapped and gathered the ball on the boundary line 50m out from goal after a spoiled marking contest. Betts then evades two GWS players before kicking a goal with a right foot snap from 35m out. [5]
2015Eddie BettsAdelaideRound 9 goal against Fremantle at Adelaide Oval. Kicked a goal inside out with his left foot from the left hand pocket from 50m out. [6]
2014Matt WhitePort AdelaideRound 17 goal against Richmond at Etihad Stadium. White gathered the ball at half-back, ran full tilt up the wing with three bounces, burning off a chasing Steven Morris in the process, before unloading from 50m to goal. [7]
2013Lance FranklinHawthornRound 3 goal against Collingwood at the MCG. Received a handball from Ben Stratton in the centre square, jumped over a tackled Stratton and went on to kick the goal from 75 metres out. [8]
2012Chris YarranCarltonRound 1 goal against Richmond at the MCG. Received a handball from Chris Judd between left wing and half-forward flank. Ran along the boundary past Dustin Martin, Ivan Maric and Steven Morris, breaking tackles from Maric and Morris before slotting the game-changing goal from 40 metres out. [9]
2011Hayden BallantyneFremantleRound 2 goal against Geelong at Patersons Stadium. Ballantyne ran through the centre of the ground before kicking the ball inside 50. He received a follow-up handball from Matthew Pavlich and slotted the goal from 40 metres out in a team-lifting effort. [10]
2010Lance FranklinHawthornRound 13 goal against Essendon at the MCG, where Franklin outsprinted Cale Hooker from the wing to boot truly from around 50m out from near the left boundary line (Franklin is left footed making angle more acute)[11] [12]
2009Cyril RioliHawthornIn the round seven match against Essendon, Rioli managed to evade numerous defenders to weave his way into a position to handball to teammate Chance Bateman, before receiving the ball back and kicking a goal from 40 metres out.[1] [13]
2008Leon DavisCollingwoodIn the final home-and-away Friday night match, Leon Davis tackled Fremantle player Des Headlend in Fremantle's defensive 50, knocked the ball out of the scruffle, as he picked the ball up he broke a tackle and then ran 10 metres before kicking an amazing drop punt from 50 m out on the boundary. Dennis Cometti adding the words "of the season" after Bruce McAvaney saying "goal".[14]
2007Matthew LloydEssendonMatthew Lloyd back-heeled the goal through a pack of players from 5 metres out.[15]
2006Eddie BettsCarltonSmothered Tarkyn Lockyer's handball, gathered the ball and, with two opposition players surrounding him, kicked a freakish banana from the boundary and kicked truly.[16][17]
2005Chris JuddWest Coast EaglesBurst from a boundary throw in on the half forward flank, spun out of a tackle and kicked truly from about 40 metres out at Subiaco oval.[18][19]
2004Daniel WellsKangaroosDescribed as "Jackie Chan in mid-air", Wells leapt into the air, grabbed the ball out of the ruck and scissor-kicked in one motion in the goalsquare at Subiaco giving North Melbourne a narrow victory over Fremantle.[20][21]
2003Daniel KerrWest Coast EaglesReceived the football at half-back, before taking 5 bounces and finishing from 48 m out, late in a famous Derby against Fremantle.[22]
2002Jason AkermanisBrisbane LionsA snap shot from 45m out on his non-preferred left boot, along the boundary line while turning around to the left of the goals against Carlton at the Gabba in round 14.[23]
2001Mark MerendaWest Coast EaglesPaddled the ball from outside 50 along the boundary line towards goal and snapped it through from the pocket, against St. Kilda at the Telstra Dome.[24]

Earlier winner (1976–2001)

  Player also won Mark of the Year for the same year
2000Kingsley HunterWestern BulldogsRunning from the defensive 50 he kept going and laid a handball off to Scott Wynd, received it back at centre wing, lined up from forward 50 and slotted it home (Was awarded on Rex Hunt's Footy Show)
1999Ben CousinsWest Coast EaglesPeter Matera gathered ball in centre square, handballs to Cousins, handball back to Matera and again back to Cousins who kicks the goal from about 35 m out.[25]
1998Jeff FarmerMelbourneRan the length of the ground, giving off 2 return handballs, to then receive the ball back, evade multiple opposition players and kick a goal from 45 metres out on the boundary line.
1997Austinn JonesSt KildaRan hard from defensive 50 and took several bounces along the wing, handballed to Andrew Thompson at forward 50, received the ball back and snapped a spectacular goal in the 1997 AFL Grand Final
1996Winston AbrahamFremantleRan onto a loose ball at forward 60, surged past two Swans defenders and took several bounces along the boundary line before slotting the goal from the goalsquare
1995Tony ModraAdelaideKicked the ball off the ground 35 m from goal and his scrubbed kick rolled to the forward pocket, finishing at the feet of Richmond full back Stuart Wigney. Modra followed up his kick, making up 30 m to soccer the ball away from Wigney then gather the loose ball and snap a beautiful goal from 20 m out hard on the boundary
1994Mick McGuaneCollingwoodIn one of the most famous of all time, oft compared to Phil Manassa's famous Grand Final run, McGuane had a total of 7 bounces from the centre square, baulking two tackle attempts before kicking truly from 30 m at the MCG against Carlton[26]
1993Michael LongEssendonRan and bounced several times for a controversial goal in the 1993 Grand Final. It was apparently touched on the line by Carlton full-back Stephen Silvagni, who to this day claims he touched it before sailing through for a goal.[27]
1992Darryl WhiteBrisbane BearsFollowed up a short kick that did not travel to the leading forward by kicking a ripper at Carrara from 30 m
1991Peter DaicosCollingwoodBaulk & snap from the pocket v Richmond at Victoria Park
1990Michael MitchellRichmondGathered the ball in his own defensive area and set off on a blistering 70-metre run through the centre of the Sydney Cricket Ground, escaping a number of would-be tacklers and taking seven bounces before kicking truly from 35 metres out.
1989Gary Ablett, Sr.GeelongDropped a contested mark in the middle of the ground then ran onto the loose ball at full speed, bursting into the forward line and snapping truly from 50 m vs Collingwood (MCG)
1988Matthew LarkinNorth MelbourneSpun around 3 West Coast players, snapping miraculously from the pocket
1987David MurphySydney SwansAfter the Swans scored a behind, Murphy took a spectacular mark over an opponents back from a long kick-in, then quickly played on and kicked truly from more than 50 m away at an acute angle (from the left-side).
1986Phil KrakouerNorth MelbourneGrabbed ball on the boundary line and ran around Frank Dunell before kicking a sensational goal from the boundary with his left foot.
1985Andrew BewsGeelongA long run at Kardinia Park in which Bews baulked two tackles and bounced three times; 40 m out from goal, Bews attempted to touch the ball on the ground, fumbled and overran the ball before changing direction, recovering the ball and eventually slotting the goal from 30 m.
1984Geoff RainesRichmond
1983Ken HunterCarlton
1982Mick ConlanFitzroyMarked on the wing, ran about 50 metres, baulked 2 tackles before kicking a goal from 60 metres.
1981Peter BosustowCarltonSmothered his Geelong opponent's attempted clearing kick 20 m around in the right forward pocket at VFL Park, before standing, gathering and snapping a high goal over his right shoulder.
1980Michael TurnerGeelong3 bounces, 1 baulk from the wing and a shot from 50
1979Leigh MatthewsHawthornTook several detours to avoid North Melbourne opposition to score from the pocket in the first VFL game in Sydney since 1952
1978Phil BakerNorth Melbourne
1977Phil ManassaCollingwoodManassa kicked a goal on the run from the half back flank in the 1977 Grand Final replay against North Melbourne[28]
1976Keith GreigNorth Melbourne


  1. "Burton, Rioli win mark and goal of the year". Australian Football League. 28 September 2009. Archived from the original on 1 October 2009.
  2. "Four times a charm for Eddie, Ryan flies high for big award". AFL.com.au. 23 September 2019. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  3. "Higgins wins AFL goal of the year". RichmondFC.com.au. 24 September 2018. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  4. "Daniel Rioli's magic on the boundary wins AFL goal of the year". The Roar. 25 September 2017. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
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  8. "YouTube". www.youtube.com.
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  12. Richard Nguyen (14 September 2010). "AFL - 2010 Goal Of The Year - Lance Franklin" via YouTube.
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  14. "YouTube". www.youtube.com.
  15. "YouTube". www.youtube.com.
  16. "Betts' goal provides Blues' bright spot". The Age. Melbourne. 1 October 2006.
  17. adriandaher01 (19 May 2007). "Eddie Betts Goal of the Year 2006" via YouTube.
  18. WestCoastEaglesVideo (12 April 2011). "Chris Judd Goal Of The Year 2005" via YouTube.
  19. "New faces galore in All-Australian team". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 September 2004.
  20. JWS10 (30 January 2007). "Daniel Wells goal of the year" via YouTube.
  21. qazplm1029384756 (9 November 2009). "Daniel Kerr 2003 Goal Of The Year" via YouTube.
  22. elchubenibre (13 February 2008). "Jason Akermanis Kicks the Goal Of The Year of 2002" via YouTube.
  23. rem120 (29 July 2006). "2001 AFL Goal of the Year" via YouTube.
  24. jiggerjigger (10 November 2006). "Ben Cousins - Goal of the Year 1999" via YouTube.
  25. elchubenibre (2 February 2010). "Michael McGuane splits the blue sea" via YouTube.
  26. elchubenibre (21 March 2007). "Michael longs awesome goal" via YouTube.
  27. elchubenibre (1 June 2008). "Phil Manassa" via YouTube.
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