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Who will win the Madden Medal?

The AFL Players’ Association is set to award its annual Madden Medal on Friday, 9th October, with seven recently retired AFL stars nominated for the honour.

While this year’s crop of nominees have achieved many outstanding feats on the footy field, there’s far more to each of their stories.

The Madden Medal recognises more than on-field performances – off-field achievements, personal development and community spirit are also taken into account.

Find out more about each of the nominees below.

Daniel Cross – Western Bulldogs Football Club and Melbourne Football Club

AFL 2015 Rd 23 - Melbourne v GWS Giants

On-Field Achievements

  • 249 AFL Games
  • Australian International Rules Squad 2002
  • AFL Rising Star Nominee 2004
  • Western Bulldogs Best and Fairest 2008
  • 3 X 2nd in Best and Fairest
  • Pre-Season Premiership Player 2010
  • Victoria Squad 2008

Originally from Albury in NSW, Daniel Cross was taken pick 56 in the 2000 National Draft and made his debut in Round 10, 2002 against the Tigers.

Cross arrived at Whitten Oval with a very lean frame, taking a few years before his body was equipped to handle the physical demands of AFL Football.

By 2005, Cross had arrived and turned himself into one the best midfielders in the competition, using his balance, vision and clean hands to bring teammates into the game.

Cross was hugely respected for his professionalism and consistency and regularly featured in the top ten of his clubs’ best and fairest awards. In 2008, he was justly rewarded with his first Charles Sutton Medal as the Western Bulldogs’ best and fairest.

He continued his fine form with the Bulldogs for a number of years before crossing to the Demons at the end of the 2013 season, where he provided excellent service for two years before his career came to a close. Cross maintained his lofty standards right until the end – enjoying a career-high 39 possession game in his second-last AFL match.

Personal Development:

  • AFL Sportsready – Next Goal Mentoring
  • Bachelor of Sport Science
  • Western Jets Assistant Coach 2014

Community Spirit:

  • Movember Ambassador
  • Reach Foundation Ambassador

Off-Field Achievements:

  • Leadership group 2006 – 2015
  • Best Team Player 2004
  • Most Courageous 2008, 2009, 2011
  • Western Bulldogs Life Member

Chris Newman – Richmond Football Club

AFL 2015 First Elimination Final - Richmond v North Melbourne

On-Field Achievements

  • 268 AFL Games
  • Australian International Rules Squad 2005
  • 7 x Top 10 Richmond Best and Fairest

Chris Newman was drafted at Pick no. 55 in the 2000 AFL Draft from the Dandenong Stingrays in the TAC Cup. Growing up in Narre Warren, Newman honed his skills with neighbour and friend, Brendan Fevola.

Newman made his debut for Richmond in Round 9 of the 2002 season and went on to play 13 games in an impressive debut season.

He became a regular and incredibly reliable player from 2003 onwards, and would feature in the top ten of the club’s Best and Fairest award on seven occasions.

A raking left footer with speed, balance and awareness, Chris was elevated to the club’s leadership group in 2005. Such was the esteem in which he was held at Richmond, he was named Captain of the football club at the end of the 2008 season.

Newman held the captaincy for four seasons and went on to play 268 games for Richmond.

Newman’s last game for the Tigers was the club’s elimination final loss to North Melbourne.

Personal Development:

  • Level 2 Coach
  • Sandringham Dragons Backline Coach 2012 – 2013
  • “Hello Newman” Host on Tiger TV

Community Spirit

  • “Champion” for the Alannah and Madeline Foundation
  •  AFL Community Camps and Youth Football Coaching & Development

Off-Field Achievements

  • Richmond Captain 2009 – 2012
  • Richmond Best Clubman 2005, 2008, 2010
  • Richmond Life Member

Chris Judd – West Coast Eagles Football Club and Carlton Football Club

AFL 2015 Rd 21 - Carlton v Melbourne

On-Field Achievements

  • 279 Games
  • AFLPA Best First Year Player 2002
  • West Coast Best and Fairest 2004, 2006
  • Brownlow Medal 2004, 2010
  • AFLPA MVP Award  2006, 2011
  • Premiership Player  2006
  • Carlton Best and Fairest 2008, 2009, 2010
  • 6 X All-Australian

After dominating the TAC Competition for the Sandringham Dragons, Chris Judd arrived at West Coast as pick 3 in the 2001 ‘Super draft’.

By 2004, Judd was the most explosive midfielder in the competition and was suitably awarded with his first Brownlow Medal and Eagles best and fairest award.

2005 and 2006 saw Judd’s West Coast Eagles become a powerhouse in the AFL, playing in consecutive Grand Finals. Judd claimed the 2005 Norm Smith Medal as the best player on the ground in West Coast’s heartbreaking four-point loss to the Sydney Swans.

It didn’t take him and the Eagles long to get some redemption as they turned the tide on Sydney in the 2006 Grand Final, recording a memorable one-point victory, with Judd leading from the front in the Grand Final Victory.

Judd played one more season with the Eagles before returning home to Victoria to captain the Carlton Football Club. He made an immediate impact at the Blues and won the best and fairest in each of his first three seasons at the club.

A phenomenal 2010 season saw him claim a second Brownlow Medal before again gaining favouritism for the coveted award in 2011 where he eventually finished in fifth place.

Judd retired mid-way through the 2015 season after rupturing his ACL against the Adelaide Crows. He received a standing ovation from both clubs’ supporters as he left the MCG for the final time.

Personal Development:

  • Created G3 Events (Corporate Hospitality Solutions)
  • Founding Shareholder of Re-Launched ‘Jaggad’, (professional athletic wear)
  • Mirabel Foundation from 2009-20012
  • YGAP Ambassador
  • Stand up Events ambassador

Community Spirit

  • Visy Environment Ambassador
  • Attends numerous Charity Events Annually

Off-Field Achievements

  • West Coast Captain 2006 – 2007
  • Carlton Captain 2008 – 2012
  • West Coast Life Member
  • Carlton Life Member

Luke McPharlin – Hawthorn Football Club and Fremantle Football Club

2015 Toyota AFL Grand Final - Hawthorn v West Coast

On-Field Achievements

  • 256 Games
  • All Australian 2012
  • 2005 AFL Mark of the Year
  • AFL Grand Final 2013

Luke McPharlin was taken by the Hawks with pick 10 in the 1999 AFL draft before featuring in 12 matches during a two-year stint at the club.

At the end of the 2001 season, McPharlin decided to return home to Western Australian and eventually made his way to the Fremantle Dockers, where he played for a further 14 years at the elite level.

A high-flying swing-man, McPharlin was able to compete at both ends of the ground, kicking 34 goals as a forward in 2005 and finishing third in the club’s best and fairest award in 2007 and 2008.

Playing a pivotal role in the Dockers defence later in his career, McPharlin took his game to a new level in 2012, gaining All-Australian honours at full-back at the age of 30.

Injuries riddled McPharlin’s last couple of years before he retired with 256 games across 16 years in the AFL system.

Personal Development:

  • Bachelor of Pharmacy
  • Cert 4 – Frontline management at University of WA
  • Director of ‘Fut 75 Developments’ (small property development group)
  • Musician – Released multiple albums

Community Spirit:

  • Starlight Foundation, Ambassador
  • Constable Care, Ambassador
  • Member of ‘Baha’i Administrative Body’ (co-ordinates community development programs in Fremantle)
  • Reach Foundation Ambassador 2000-2001
  • Musical performances at a number of Charity events

Off-Field Achievements:

  • Fremantle Leadership Group 2005 – 2015
  • Fremantle Life Member

Kane Cornes – Port Adelaide Football Club

AFL 2015 Rd 08 - Port Adelaide v Richmond

On-Field Achievements

  • 300 Games
  • Port Adelaide Best and Fairest 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012
  • Premiership Player 2004
  • 2 x All-Australian
  • 10 x Top Three Port Adelaide Best and Fairest

Perhaps the most underrated player of this generation, Kane Cornes was taken with pick 20 in the 2000 AFL draft and went on to become one of the club’s most decorated players.

After being drafted, Cornes didn’t take long to make an impression, playing seven games in his debut season before establishing himself in the Power line-up in 2002.

One of the youngsters of Port Adelaide’s powerhouse side, Cornes played in a premiership with the club in 2004 at the age of just 21, and finished runner-up in the club’s best and fairest awards at year’s end.

It spawned a sensational run for Cornes where he finished top three in the club’s best and fairest ten times in eleven seasons between 2004 and 2014.

Not blessed with outstanding speed or strength, Cornes was known as a tagger who could find his own ball, with consistency and determination becoming the trademarks of his game.

Rarely lowering his colours, the ball magnet averaged more than 20 disposals a game from 2005 until the end of his career in Round 8 of this season where he announced his retirement to join the fire brigade.

Personal Development:

  • Accepted into Adelaide Metropolitan Fire Brigade
  • Radio – 5AA Special Comments and Game Day Host
  • Owner of ‘She Shopped’ (fashion business)
  • Next Goal Work Placement – Harris Real Estate
  • Cert 2 Sport and Recreation
  • Cert 4 Business

Community Spirit:

  • ASMF Charity Foundation Ambassador
  • AFL Premiership Cup Ambassador 2015

Off-Field Achievements:

  • Port Adelaide Deputy Vice Captain
  • Port Adelaide Games Record Holder
  • Port Adelaide Life Member
  • Dream Team Member 2008

Dustin Fletcher – Essendon Football Club


On Field Achievements

  • 400 Games
  • Essendon Best and Fairest 2000
  • 2x All-Australian
  • Premiership Player 1993, 2000
  • International Rules 2005, 2006, 2010, 2014

Launching himself into legendary territory in 2015, Dustin Fletcher became just the third player to play 400 AFL games.

Drafted as a father-son selection in 1992, Fletcher debuted in 1993 while still attending high school, eventually playing in a premiership with the ‘Baby Bombers’ at just 18 years of age.

Stamping himself as one of the best key defenders in the competition, Fletcher carved out one of the longest careers in AFL history, playing for 23 seasons and becoming the second-oldest player to play the game, at the age of 40.

Fletcher was at the peak of his powers in season 2000. Playing as the club’s mainstay defender, Fletcher claimed a second premiership medallion with the Bombers, the club’s best and fairest award and an All-Australian selection at full-back.

Whether it was kicking out from full-back or launching the ball towards goal, Fletcher will be remembered for his long and accurate kicking, as well as keeping up with those considerably younger than him – many of which weren’t born when he made his AFL debut.

Fletcher will also be remembered for his trademark long arms and legs, which allowed him to seemingly always spoil the ball at the perfect time and saw him become Australia’s first-choice goalkeeper during multiple International Rules series against the Irish.

Personal Development:

  • Diploma of Building
  • AFL Sportsready Next Goal Program – Coaching
  • Level 2 Coaches Course
  • Playing/Coaching Role 2012, 2013

Community Spirit:

  • The Long Walk Ambassador
  • Boots for All Ambassador

Off-Field Achievements:

  • Essendon Games Record Holder
  • Essendon Life Member
  • Essendon Leadership Group
  • Australian International Rules Captain 2006

Paul Chapman – Geelong Football Club and Essendon Football Club

AFL 2015 Rd 22 - Essendon v Richmond

On-Field Achievements

  • 280 Games
  • Geelong Best and Fairest 2006
  • Norm Smith Medal 2009
  • 2x All-Australian
  • Premiership Player 2007, 2009, 2011

Taken with pick 31 in the 1999 AFL draft, Paul Chapman proved to be one of the best half-forwards of his generation, playing 280 games as a part of the formidable Geelong side.

Starting his AFL career with 13 games in his first two seasons, Chapman established himself in the Cats line-up in 2002 where he became one of the premier players during Geelong’s triple-premiership era.

Kicking more than 30 goals in six of the nine seasons between 2004 and 2012, Chapman received the club’s best and fairest after a stellar 2006 season.

A big game performer, Chapman was an integral part of all three premierships in 2007, 2009 and 2011, including winning the Norm Smith medal as the best player on the ground in the 2009 Grand Final.

Chapman also received All-Australian honours on the half-forward flank in 2009 and 2010 before his Geelong career came to a close in 2013.

Crossing to Essendon for the 2014 season proved a masterstroke early with Chapman near his best during the season, before injuries interrupted his form in 2015.

Personal Development:

  • Certificate 4 in Building
  • Certificate 4 in Construction

Community Spirit:

  • Toyota Retiring Legends Ambassador
  • Geelong Community Education, Program Leader

Off-Field Achievements:

  • Leadership Group 2009 – 2011 (Geelong)
  • Leadership Group 2015 (Essendon)
  • Coaches Award 2006 (Geelong)
  • Victorian Representative 2008

Please note: Adam Goodes has respectfully declined the invitation to be nominated for this year’s Madden Medal. Adam passes on his best wishes to all retiring players and wishes them every success in future endeavours.

Click here to read about last year’s Madden Medal winner