Who better to select the game’s most valuable player than the players themselves? It’s no surprise that the AFL Players’ MVP honour roll includes the very best footballers of the modern era.
Matthews, Ablett Jr and Sr, Carey, Voss, Fyfe, Dangerfield, Martin and most recently Mitchell, are just some of the superstars in this exclusive club. Big or small, the MVP is open to any footballer who displays leadership, versatility, ability to play under pressure, skill and courage.
Whilst their outstanding performances on the football field sees these players gain many accolades during their careers, the MVP stands alone for what it represents – the respect of their peers. With every player having the opportunity to vote, the winner is truly the players’ choice.
Thirty-six years that have passed since the MVP was first presented to Leigh Matthews in 1982 and renamed in his honour in 2002. In that time its prestige has grown enormously.
The Leigh Matthews Trophy winner is now celebrated in a dedicated event with a room full of colleagues, AFL greats and industry representatives. It’s truly the players’ night with the best captain, best first year player, most courageous and 22under22 team also revealed.
The 2018 event was the best yet, with Hawthorn star Tom Mitchell claiming his first MVP award in front of more than 450 guests including colleagues Max Gawn, Marcus Bontempelli, Dyson Heppell and Trent Cotchin.
Callan Ward (Most Courageous), Trent Cotchin (Best Captain), Tim Kelly (Best First Year) and David Mundy and Tiarna Ernst (Education and Training Award) were also recognised with individual awards.
The AFLW Players’ Most Valuable Player award was first presented in 2017 to coincide with the inaugural season of the national women’s competition and Adelaide Crows co-captain Erin Phillips was the recipient.
The following year, 36-year-old GWS Giants’ midfielder, Courtney Gum, became the second winner of the AFLW Players’ MVP award, receiving the trophy in front of her colleagues and select guests during a private function at St Kilda’s Stokehouse.
Adelaide star Chelsea Randall was also recognised with the AFLW Players’ Most Courageous award and Melbourne skipper Daisy Pearce was a popular winner of the Best Captain Award – making it back-to-back titles for both individuals. While, Collingwood youngster Chloe Molloy was recognised with the Best First Year Player award.
AFL Players’ Association MVP Awards
– Leigh Matthews Trophy
– AFLW Players’ Most Valuable Player Award
– Best Captain
– AFLW Players’ Best Captain award
– Best First Year Player Award
– Robert Rose Most Courageous Player Award
– AFLW Players’ Most Courageous Player Award
– Education and Training Award
– #22Under22 team
– Grant Hattam Award for Journalism Excellence
Gary Ablett Jnr has won the Leigh Matthews Trophy on five occasions while Greg Williams, Wayne Carey, Michael Voss, Chris Judd and Nat Fyfe are the other multiple winners.
The voting process
Every AFL player is asked to nominate the three teammates they deems worthy of the Leigh Matthews Trophy. In stage two of the voting process, players are asked to select their MVP from the list featuring three nominees from every club. However, players can’t vote for their teammates in stage two.
MVP of the Month
Launched in the 2017 season, the MVP of the Month concept recognises the most outstanding player in each month of the home and away season. The winner is chosen by vote of his peers after AFLPA MVP winners Leigh Matthews, Tim Watson, Chris Judd and Gerard Healy have settled on six nominees. The monthly winner is automatically nominated for the end-of-season Leigh Matthews Trophy.
2018 MVP of the Month winners
March/April — Rounds 1-6 — Steele Sidebottom
May — Rounds 7-10 — Jack Darling
June — Rounds 11-15 — Shaun Higgins
July — Rounds 16-19 — Luke Breust