Hawthorn and Brisbane champion Luke Hodge has added to his extraordinary list of achievements, taking home the 2019 AFL Players’ Association Madden Medal.
The Madden Medal is awarded to the retiring player who has best demonstrated on-field excellence, personal development and growth, as well as community spirit over the course of his playing career.
Hodge, who played 346 AFL games after being taken with the first pick in the 2001 National Draft, received the award ahead of another strong field of nominees, including Jarryd Roughead, Alex Rance, Dale Morris, Nick Smith and Jarrad McVeigh.
Hodge, whose accolades include four premierships, two Hawthorn best and fairest awards, three All-Australian selections, two Norm Smith Medals and a six-year tenure as Hawthorn’s captain, accepted the award on-stage from former Essendon ruckman, Simon Madden, who, along with brother Justin, the medal was named after.
“It’s a great honour to win this award joining legends of the game like Riewoldt, Judd and Harvey and to be recognised for not only on-field efforts but also off-field contributions,” Hodge said.
“As AFL players, we spend every moment trying to be better athletes and players but we also give a lot back to the community while trying to grow as people, so it’s humbling to be recognised for that.”
Brisbane Lions coach, Chris Fagan, said Hodge’s contribution to the young Lions group was as much about connecting with teammates as human beings as well as footballers during his last two years in the game.
“Initially, I think people were shocked that Luke was so generous with his time. He certainly didn’t walk in the door saying, ‘I’m Luke Hodge, football legend – you get to know me’ but rather he made the effort to get to know our group,” Fagan said.
“It was no surprise that before too long he was highly respected among the group because of the sort of person he was and because he was prepared to take time to invest in people.”
The Madden Medal is decided by a vote from the AFL Players’ Association Board, as well as past winners of the award and was first presented in 2007.Off the field, Hodge studied a myriad of courses, including certificates in Sport and Recreation, Personal Training and Fitness, Finance and Broking and a Diploma of Management, while also being an ambassador for My Room for eight years and a mentor for youth charity Ladder.
Past winners of the award include Brendon Goddard, Nick Riewoldt, Matthew Pavlich, Chris Judd, Lenny Hayes, Jude Bolton, Luke Power, Cameron Ling, Brett Kirk, Michael O’Loughlin, Robert Harvey and Glenn Archer.