The 2020 Madden Medal nominees have been selected and will be announced via aflplayers.com.au and the AFLPA’s social media channels this week, before the overall winner is announced at the end of next week, proudly presented by The Diamond Guys.
The Madden Medal is awarded to the retiring player who best demonstrates on-field excellence, personal development and growth, as well as community spirit over the course of his playing career, and is named after two former AFLPA Presidents, Simon and Justin Madden.
GARY ABLETT JNR
GEELONG FOOTBALL CLUB/ GOLD COAST SUNS
- 357 games
- 2 x AFL premiership player (2007, 2009)
- 2 x Brownlow Medal (2009, 2013)
- Gold Coast captain (2011-2016)
- 5 x Leigh Matthews Trophy (AFLPA MVP) (2007-09, 2012-13)
- 3 x AFLCA Champion Player of the Year Award (2007-09)
- 8 x All Australian (2007-14)
- 2 x Geelong B&F (2007, 2009)
- 4 x Gold Coast B&F (2011-13, 2017)
- Geelong leading goalkicker (2006)
- 2 x Gold Coast leading goalkicker (2012-13)
The son of Geelong champion Gary Ablett Snr, Ablett Jnr was selected as a father-son selection with pick no. 40 in the famed 2001 National Draft. After starting his career playing predominantly as a small forward, Ablett made a permanent move to the midfield where he made a name for himself as one of the AFL’s most decorated players.
Ablett Jnr had early success at Geelong, playing in their 2007 and 2009 premierships and winning the 2009 Brownlow medal, before joining the Gold Coast Suns as a foundation player and inaugural captain. Throughout his seven seasons at the Suns, Ablett Jnr became an important face for growing the game on the Gold Coast.
An injury-plagued period and desire to return home saw him rejoin the Cats for the remaining three seasons of his career, retiring after the 2020 Grand Final.
Ablett Jnr is well-respected amongst his peers, winning the Leigh Matthews Trophy (AFLPA MVP) a record five times and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players to ever play the game.
- Business ventures which include Exclusive Insight, Post High and ActiveVacay
- Gary is heavily involved with a charity called Compassion Australia, which is a Christian International holistic child development organisation. It assists children from all over the world be released from poverty.
- Geelong Football Club life member
- AFL life member
PORT ADELAIDE FOOTBALL CLUB
- 280 games
- 2007 Rising Star nominee
- Gavin Wanganeen Medal (PAFC best player under 21) (2007)
- Showdown Medal (2011)
- Port Adelaide B&F (2018)
Drafted with pick no. 71 in the 2006 National Draft, Justin Westhoff became a much-loved figure at Port Adelaide.
Westhoff made a name for himself as a versatile swingman during his 280-game career, playing across the forward-line, in defence and the ruck.
After playing multiple roles throughout his career, Westhoff was rewarded in 2018 winning the Power’s best-and-fairest at age 32.
Westhoff was well-liked among his peers and considered an important member of the football club, including playing an integral role in the club’s rebuild and consequent 2020 resurgence
While currently studying his Diploma in Building Design Justin has also had a long-standing commitment to community engagement and service as an Ambassador for the Hutt Street Centre, which aims to end homelessness and provide hope and opportunity for people to rebuild their lives without judgment.
Justin regularly volunteers his time in the Hutt Street meal centre, preparing and serving meals along with spending valuable time with those who are facing homelessness. He has also encouraged his younger teammates to join him, exposing them to an issue impacting many thousands of Australians.
Justin also supports major fundraising events such as the annual Walk a Mile in My Boots which aims to generate $200,000 each year to support the 6000 people experiencing homelessness in South Australia.
As a result of COVID-19, the 2020 Walk a Mile in My Boots was held in a modified virtual format. Justin was instrumental in promoting and supporting the event which engaged 7000 people across Australia raising $600,000 – almost double that of previous years.
In 2017, Justin launched Forage Supply Co. which promotes environmental change and sustainability. Through Forage Supply Co. Justin is educating children through schools to learn to grow healthier produce, eat seasonally and live sustainably through school-based community gardens.
- AFL Level 2 Coach
- Certificate in Player Development and Welfare
- Diploma in Building Design
- Forage Supply Co – Co-founder
- Forage Built – Co-founder
- Hutt Street Centre Ambassador
- PAFC Life Member
- PAFC Leadership group
GEELONG FOOTBALL CLUB
- 280 games
- 2 x AFL Premiership (2009, 2011)
- 2 x All Australian (2010, 2013)
- Jim Stynes Medal (2015)
The Geelong Football Club selected Harry Taylor with pick no. 17 in the 2007 National Draft. A mature-age recruit, Taylor spent three seasons with East Fremantle in the WAFL before earning his AFL chance. At the time of being drafted Taylor was studying physiotherapy at university and had never left his home state of Western Australia.
Considered a surprise selection by the Cats, Taylor made an immediate impact to the Cats’ premiership defence, playing 21 games in his first season, including all three finals. He would go on to have one of the most consistent careers in the AFL, playing a minimum of 18 games every season, except for 2018 when he suffered a plantar fascia injury.
A key cog in Geelong’s sustained success, Taylor’s decorated career includes two AFL premierships and two All Australian blazers.
- Bachelor of Applied Management – Federation University, Ballarat (2018 – 2020)
- Harry received highest GPA for Accounting for Managers Unit (2019)
- Next Coach Program (2016)
- Advanced Diploma of Business Management – The Management Edge (Road Scholars) (2016)
- Diploma of Business Management – The Management Edge (Road Scholars) (2015)
- REIV – Real Estate Agents Rep Course (2015)
- Level 2 Coaching Accreditation (2014)
- Geelong Life member
- AFL life member
- Jim Stynes Medal (2015)
- AFLPA Education and Training Award (2020)
GEELONG FOOTBALL CLUB/ COLLINGWOOD FOOTBALL CLUB
- 230 games
- 2 x Premiership player (2009, 2011)
- VFL Premiership player (2007)
- Indigenous All Stars (2009)
A high selection in the 2005 National Draft, Travis Varcoe was known for his silky skills and sheer talent.
Missing out on the 2007 AFL premiership, Varcoe worked his way back into Geelong’s best-22 to become a key member of heir 2009 and 2011 premiership teams.
During his time at Geelong, Varcoe had one of the highest winning percentages in the AFL and was the quickest player to reach 100 wins, doing so in just his 117th game.
After nine seasons and 138 games with the Cats, Varcoe was traded to Collingwood as part of a three-way trade ahead of the 2015 season. Varcoe played arguably the best football of his career at the Pies, playing 92 games and becoming a key member of the club’s resurgence.
Varcoe’s impact on younger players has been widely recognised within the Collingwood organisation. In his understated way, Varcoe was incredible in mentoring younger players, particularly new draftees to the club.
Varcoe was not someone who sought attention or credit for this, and a lot of his best work was done on a one-on-one 1 basis away from most eyes.
He was also a significant figure in educating the Collingwood group about his culture, which was most evident through his involvement and design of the club’s 2019 indigenous jumper.
Varcoe was also a key figure in Collingwood’s desire to stamp out online bullying and racial comments on social media, using his own experiences to help educate and put an end to this behaviour.
Through his volunteer work at Parkville Detention Centre, Varcoe has had an incredible impact on so many individuals and the time and effort he committed there off his own back is worthy of significant recognition.
- AFL SportsReady AFL Player Agent Accreditation
- Currently completing Level 2 & 3 Coaching Accreditation
- Parkville Juvenile Detention Centre – volunteer placement
- Established Tiny Torpedo’s – A football development program for pre-school kids
WEST COAST EAGLES / PORT ADELAIDE FOOTBALL CLUB
- 260 games
- 2008 AFL Rising Star nominee
- Fos Williams Players’ Award (2012)
- PAFC best-and-fairest runner-up (2012)
- PAFC 4th best-and-fairest (2013, 17)
- John McCarthy Community Award (2014)
The son of Craig Ebert (former West Adelaide and Port Adelaide player) and the nephew of Russell, Brad Ebert was drafted to the West Coast Eagles with the 13th overall pick in the 2007 National Draft.
Ebert made his debut in 2008 while still a 17-year-old, becoming the youngest Eagles debutant since 2001. Playing as an inside midfielder across the 2009 and 2010 seasons, Ebert played 17 and 22 games, respectively, becoming a key component of West Coast’s side.
At the conclusion of the 2011 season, where Ebert had played predominantly as a forward, he requested a trade to Port Adelaide.
While playing for the Power, Ebert had a breakout period, finishing equal-second in the Port Adelaide best-and-fairest in 2012 and polling the most votes of all Power players in the Brownlow Medal.
Ebert became a well-respected and admired member of the Power, taking on the role as vice-captain at the start of the 2013 season.
He was known for his consistency, power running, courage and commitment through his career, playing 260 games across 13 seasons.
- Bachelor of Human Movement
- Masters of Business Administration
- Hey Diddle – Co-founder
- Port Adelaide Power Community Ltd – School education and community visits
- Grange Surf Life Saving Club – Club Ambassador
- Motor Neuron Disease assoc. of SA – Charity Ambassador
- Sammy D foundation – Nonvoting board member and charity ambassador
- West Coast Eagles Community Program – School education and community visits
- Surf Life Saving Australia Bronze Medallion – CPR, AED, First Aid
- Club patron grange surf lifesaving club
- Ambassador motor neuron disease SA
- PAFC Life Member
- PAFC leadership group (2015-18)
- PAFC vice-captain (2012-15)
CARLTON FOOTBALL CLUB
- 342 games
- 2005 AFL Rising Star nominees
- AFL pre-season premiership (2005, 07)
- International Rules Series (2006, 08, 10)
- Jim Stynes Medal (2008)
Kade Simpson departed the game as one of Carlton’s greatest players of the modern era.
Simpson’s incredible durability can be summed up by the fact he was the last remaining player from his 2002 draft class. He also played 158 consecutive games between 2005 – 2012, a Carlton record and the third longest streak in AFL/VFL history.
Since being selected at pick No.45 from the Eastern Ranges, he has represented the Navy Blue guernsey with courage, conviction, loyalty and resilience across three separate decades. There are few who have been more loved by the Carlton faithful over that time than ‘Simmo’.
A John Nicholls Medallist in 2013, Simpson has finished in the top three in the best and fairest count on four occasions in a testament to his unmatched consistency. He was also vice-captain of the club from 2013–2014 and in 2016.
In Round 4 this year 2020, against arch-rivals Essendon, Simpson further cemented his place in Blues’ immortality when he surpassed Legend John Nicholls to move into outright third for most AFL games played in the history of the Club. Only Bruce Doull and Craig Bradley sit above Simpson on that list.
In Round 16 he played game No.340, moving him into the top 20 for most games played in AFL history, alongside former Adelaide Crow Andrew McLeod.
In 2021, Kade has signed on to be assistant coach for Carlton’s AFLW side under Daniel Harford and will also be an assistant coach for the club’s reserves side in the new second-tier competition.
- Earth moving equipment license (2016)
- Executive Certificate – AFL Recruiting (2018)
- Executive Certificate – Player Development (2019)
- Down Syndrome Victoria ambassador (2013-18)
- Carlton Football Club Life Member (2013)
- Carlton B&F (2013)
- Carlton Vice-Captain (2013-14, 2016)
- Inner Blue Ruthless Award (2015, 16)
- Carltonians High Achiever Award (2014, 16)
- Women of Carlton Player Ambassador (2015)
- Carlton B&F runner-up (2016, 18)
- AFL Life Member (2017)