Leigh Matthews Trophy

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The Leigh Matthews Trophy is an annual award given by the AFL Players Association to the Most Valuable Player in the Australian Football League. It is named in honour of Leigh Matthews, who won the first MVP award in 1982, when the league was still known as the Victorian Football League. The trophy was first awarded in 2002, and all previous VFLPA/AFLPA MVPs were retrospectively given the Matthews Trophy in 2005. It is awarded at a special AFL Players Association awards ceremony.


The voting procedure for the award is:

Prior to 2011, each player cast a single vote for the award.

The award is roughly analogous to the Brownlow Medal, the traditional "best and fairest" award in the league. However, the voting system is completely different: the Brownlow Medal awards votes on a game-by-game basis, while Leigh Matthews Trophy awards a single vote based on the entire season. In particular, this has meant that key-position players have been more likely to win this award than the Brownlow Medal. For example, Wayne Carey, generally regarded as one of the league's all-time great key position players, never won the Brownlow, but won this honour twice.

The Leigh Matthews Trophy is strictly for the most valuable player, not the best and fairest as is the case with the Brownlow Medal. A league disciplinary suspension, which renders a player ineligible for the Brownlow, does not exclude a player from contention for the Matthews Trophy. In 1996, Corey McKernan finished tied in the Brownlow voting with that season's winners James Hird and Michael Voss, but was disqualified from the Brownlow because of a disciplinary suspension. However, McKernan won the AFLPA MVP award that season.


1982 Leigh Matthews Hawthorn
1983 Terry Daniher Essendon
1984 Russell Greene Hawthorn
1985 Greg Williams Geelong
1986 Paul Roos Fitzroy
1987 Tony Lockett St Kilda
1988 Gerard Healy Sydney
1989 Tim Watson Essendon
1990 Darren Millane Collingwood
1991 Jim Stynes Melbourne
1992 Jason Dunstall Hawthorn
1993 Gary Ablett, Sr. Geelong
1994 Greg Williams Carlton
1995 Wayne Carey North Melbourne
1996 Corey McKernan North Melbourne
1997 Robert Harvey St Kilda
1998 Wayne Carey North Melbourne
1999 Shane Crawford Hawthorn
2000 Anthony Koutoufides Carlton
2001 Andrew McLeod Adelaide
2002 Luke Darcy
Michael Voss
Western Bulldogs
Brisbane Lions
2003 Michael Voss Brisbane Lions
2004 Nick Riewoldt St Kilda
2005 Ben Cousins West Coast
2006 Chris Judd West Coast
2007 Gary Ablett Jr. Geelong
2008 Gary Ablett Jr. Geelong
2009 Gary Ablett Jr. Geelong
2010 Dane Swan Collingwood
2011 Chris Judd Carlton
2012 Gary Ablett Jr. Gold Coast
2013 Gary Ablett Jr. Gold Coast
2014 Nat Fyfe Fremantle
2015 Nat Fyfe Fremantle
2016 Patrick Dangerfield Geelong
2017 Dustin Martin Richmond
2018 Tom Mitchell Hawthorn
2019 Patrick Cripps Carlton
2020 Lachie Neale Brisbane Lions

Multiple winners

The following players have won the Leigh Matthews Trophy multiple times.

5 Gary Ablett Jr. 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013
2 Greg Williams 1985, 1994
Wayne Carey 1995, 1998
Michael Voss 2002, 2003
Chris Judd 2006, 2011
Nat Fyfe 2014, 2015

See also

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  1. Evans, Heath (12 September 2011). "Judd takes home Players' MVP double". Australian Football League Players' Association. Retrieved 12 September 2011.