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 2019 event was the best yet, with Carlton young star Patrick Cripps claiming his first MVP award in front of more than 450 guests.
Dylan Grimes (Most Courageous), Shannon Hurn (Best Captain), Sam Walsh (Best First Year) and Isaac Smith and Kate Gillespie-Jones (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.
With COVID-19 bringing a premature end to the 2020 AFLW season, an event to present the AFLW Players’ MVP award was not able to take place. However, emerging North Melbourne midfielder Jasmine Garner was voted by her peers as the MVP and was recognised in a virtual sense as part of a large scale digital roll out.
Fremantle’s Kiara Bowers was recognised with the AFLW Players’ Most Courageous award and Melbourne skipper Daisy Pearce was again bestowed with the Best Captain Award. While, St Kilda rising star Georgia Patrikios 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
– 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.