With 2,781 games of AFL experience, this year’s Madden Medal nominees are one of the greatest crops eligible for the coveted award.
Four of the 10 nominees played more than 300 AFL games, with an average of 278 games across the retiring players eligible for this year’s award.
Among a host of awards are 21 club best and fairest awards, 19 All-Australian jumpers, six premiership medallions, two Brownlow Medals, two Rising Star Awards and one Leigh Matthews Trophy.
But it’s not only on the field where these stars excelled.
Among the the 2017 bunch are a host of club captains and charity ambassadors, who worked tirelessly to advocate those struggling or were less fortunate.
A range of foundations and not-for-profit organisations saw their best work; from White Ribbon Australia to the Royal Children’s Hospital and some even co-founded charities themselves.
We’re privy to the on-field exploits of AFL players and marvel at their skill and athleticism from the comfort of our couches, but we’re not completely exclusive to their impact away from the field.
We know footy clinics are part of the package of the AFL lifetsyle but the public only see a handful of things that players do — usually only when there’s media coverage.
In the end, these players went above and beyond their obligations to support things they’re passionate about.
They completed certificates and degrees, with nearly every nominee completing a form of study and they all engaged in work experience along the journey.
This was done while continuing to advocate for issues that, more often than not, didn’t directly affect them, on top of pushing their bodies and their minds to the extreme six days per week.
It makes the achievements of this group all the more remarkable and while there can only be one Madden Medal winner, these champions will take great satisfaction from their work over a long period of time.
See below for the full list of 2017 nominees:
The Madden Medal, named after brothers Simon and Justin Madden, is awarded annually to the retiring player who has best demonstrated on-field excellence, personal development and growth, as well as community spirit over the course of their playing career. The winner will be announced at the AFL Players’ Association Season Launch on Monday, March 5.