During the home-and-away season, the Charles Brownlow Trophy, also known as the Brownlow Medal, is awarded to the “fairest and best” player, as determined by the umpires’ votes.
The award is the most prestigious in the AFL for individual players. It is also widely recognized as the highest individual honor in the sport.
The VFL first awarded it in honor of Charles Brownlow, a former Geelong Football Club player.
Year Brownlow Medallist
1927 Syd Coventry
1929 Albert Collier
1930 Harry Collier (tied)
1939 Marcus Whelan
1940 Des Fothergill (tied)
1972 Len Thompson
1979 Peter Moore
2003 Nathan Buckley (tied)
2011 Dane Swan
AFL players have been competing for the Brownlow Medal since 1924, which is presented to the player deemed to be the fairest and the best in the competition each year.
Edward “Carji” Greeves was the first recipient of the award, which was fitting since the award was named in honor of respected Geelong administrator Charles Brownlow, who had passed away earlier that year following a long battle with cancer.
After each home-and-away match, the Brownlow Medal is awarded to the player who they believe to be the best player on the field, by three votes for the player they believe to be the second best player, by two votes for the second best player, and by one vote for the third best player on the day, in their opinion.
It’s no secret that the Brownlow Medal count is one of the highlights of the AFL calendar, with a long tradition of high fashion and dramatic tally of votes held on the Monday night before the Grand Final.
The countback system was introduced in 1930 when players tied for the most votes throughout a season, and the winner was determined by the player with the most “three-vote” games.
However, in 1980, the countback system was abolished, and players who had tied for the most votes were awarded Brownlow Medals retrospectively.
As a result, if two or more players finish tied for first, they are considered joint winners.
There have only been four players in the history of the League who have won three Brownlow medals in the same season. It was Haydn Bunton from Fitzroy, Dick Reynolds from Essendon, Bob Skilton from South Melbourne, and Ian Stewart from St Kilda and Richmond. A further eight players have won two Brownlows in their careers.