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AFL Coaches Association awards

The AFL Coaches Association awards are a group of awards which have been presented annually since 2003, mainly to players and coaches in the Australian Football League (AFL), voted for by all AFL coaches.


Champion Player of the Year

Awarded annually since 2003. Each week, the senior coach of each AFL club gives five votes to the player they consider to be best on ground in the game in which their team plays, four to the second-best, and so on to one for the fifth-best. The player with the most votes at the end of the year wins. The award has different rules to many "best and fairest" awards, as player suspensions are disregarded.

Year Winner Club
2003 Nathan Buckley Collingwood
2004 Warren Tredrea Port Adelaide
2005 Barry Hall Sydney
2006 Simon Goodwin Adelaide
Adam Goodes Sydney
2007 Gary Ablett Jr. Geelong
2008 Gary Ablett Jr. (2) Geelong
2009 Gary Ablett Jr. (3) Geelong
2010 Dane Swan Collingwood
2011 Marc Murphy Carlton
2012 Trent Cotchin Richmond
2013 Scott Pendlebury Collingwood
2014 Robbie Gray Port Adelaide
2015[1] Dan Hannebery Sydney
2016[2] Patrick Dangerfield Geelong
2017[3] Dustin Martin Richmond
2018 Max Gawn Melbourne
2019 Marcus Bontempelli Western Bulldogs
2020 Lachie Neale Brisbane Lions
2021 Clayton Oliver Melbourne
2022 Touk Miller Gold Coast
Clayton Oliver (2) Melbourne
2023 Zak Butters Port Adelaide

Gary Ayres Award

Awarded since 2016. Each week during the finals series, the senior coach of each competing AFL club gives five votes to the player they consider to be best on ground in the game their team plays in, four to the second-best, and so on to one for the fifth-best. The player with the most votes at the end of the finals series wins. The award is named after Gary Ayres, a 5-time VFL/AFL premiership player and Australian Football Hall of Fame inductee.

Year Winner Club
2016[4] Josh Kennedy Sydney
2017[5] Dustin Martin Richmond
2018 Steele Sidebottom Collingwood
2019 Dustin Martin (2) Richmond
2020 Dustin Martin (3) Richmond
2021[6] Jackson Macrae Western Bulldogs
2022[7] Patrick Dangerfield Geelong
2023[8] Sam Walsh Carlton

Best Young Player

Awarded annually since 2003. Unlike some other "best young player" awards, there is no age or game limit. Awarded to the best player inside the first two seasons of their AFL careers based on the weekly AFLCA Player of the Year votes.

Year Winner Club
2003 Chris Judd West Coast
2004 Daniel Wells Kangaroos
2005 Adam Cooney Western Bulldogs
2006 Ryan Griffen Western Bulldogs
2007 Scott Pendlebury Collingwood
2008 Joel Selwood Geelong
2009 Cyril Rioli Hawthorn
2010 Stephen Hill Fremantle
2011 Nat Fyfe Fremantle
2012 Dyson Heppell Essendon
2013 Jeremy Cameron Greater Western Sydney
2014 Jaeger O'Meara Gold Coast
2015 Marcus Bontempelli Western Bulldogs
2016 Isaac Heeney Sydney
2017 Clayton Oliver Melbourne
2018 Tom Stewart Geelong
2019 Tim Kelly Geelong
2020 Sam Walsh Carlton
2021 Noah Anderson Gold Coast
Caleb Serong Fremantle
2022 Jai Newcombe Hawthorn
2023 Nick Daicos Collingwood

Allan Jeans Senior Coach of the Year Award

Awarded annually since 2003. At the end of the season, all AFL coaches give three votes to the senior coach they adjudge to have performed the best over that season, two to the second-best, and one to the third-best. The coach with the most votes wins. Ken Hinkley, Luke Beveridge, John Longmire, John Worsfold and Mark Thompson are the only coaches to have won the award more than once, with two each.

Year Winner Club
2003 Paul Roos Sydney
2004 Mark Williams Port Adelaide
2005 Neil Craig Adelaide
2006 John Worsfold West Coast
2007 Mark Thompson Geelong
2008 Mark Thompson (2) Geelong
2009 Ross Lyon St Kilda
2010 Mick Malthouse Collingwood
2011 John Worsfold (2) West Coast
2012 John Longmire Sydney
2013 Ken Hinkley Port Adelaide
2014 John Longmire (2) Sydney
2015[9] Luke Beveridge Western Bulldogs
2016 Luke Beveridge (2) Western Bulldogs
2017[10] Damien Hardwick Richmond
2018 Nathan Buckley Collingwood
2019 Chris Fagan Brisbane Lions
2020 Ken Hinkley (2) Port Adelaide
2021 Simon Goodwin Melbourne
2022[11] Craig McRae Collingwood
2023 Adam Kingsley[12] Greater Western Sydney

Assistant Coach of the Year

Awarded annually since 2003. At the end of the season, all AFL coaches and players rate their club's assistant coaches out of ten, with ten being the highest score. Assistant coaches' scores are then averaged, and the coach with the highest score wins.

Year Winner Club
2003 Neil Craig Adelaide
2004 Phil Walsh Port Adelaide
2005 Robert Wiley West Coast
2006 John Longmire Sydney
2007 Tony Micale West Coast
2008 Tony Elshaug St Kilda
2009 Mark Riley Carlton
2010[13] Brendan McCartney Geelong
2011 Darren Crocker North Melbourne
2012 Peter Sumich Fremantle
2013 Robert Harvey Collingwood
2014 Brett Montgomery Western Bulldogs
2015 Adam Kingsley St Kilda
2016 Stuart Dew Sydney
2017 Rhyce Shaw Sydney
2018 Rhyce Shaw (2) Sydney
2019 Craig McRae Richmond
2020 Daniel Giansiracusa Western Bulldogs
2021 Luke Power Carlton
2022 Troy Chaplin Melbourne
2023 James Rahilly Adelaide

Neale Daniher Lifetime Achievement Award

Awarded annually since 2003. In recognition of "an individual who has made an outstanding contribution" to Australian rules football. Renamed from Lifetime Achievement Award to Neale Daniher Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019.

Year Winner
2003 Haydn Bunton Jr.
2004 Neil Kerley
2005 John Todd
2006 John Grant
2007 Wally Miller
2008 Ian Ridley
2009 Bruce Reid
Ian Reynolds
2010 Barrie Downs
2011 Russell Ebert
Geoff Walsh
2012 John Beveridge
2013 George Stone
2014 Neale Daniher
2015 David Wheadon
2016 Mark Williams
2017 John Dimmer
2018 Alan Stewart
2019 Stephen Wells
2020 Neil Balme
2021 Ian Miller
2022 Alan McConnell
2023 Neil Craig

Coaching Legend Award

Awarded annually from 2009 to 2018. Awarded to a former VFL/AFL coach who has achieved "significant achievement and success".

Year Winner VFL/AFL club/s
2009 John Kennedy, Sr. Hawthorn, North Melbourne
2010 Ron Barrassi Carlton, North Melbourne, Melbourne, Sydney
2011 Tom Hafey Richmond, Collingwood, Geelong, Sydney
2012 David Parkin Hawthorn, Carlton, Fitzroy
2013 Jock McHale Collingwood
Leigh Matthews Collingwood, Brisbane Lions
2014 Kevin Sheedy Essendon, Greater Western Sydney
2015 Allan Jeans St Kilda, Hawthorn, Richmond
2016 Mick Malthouse Footscray, West Coast, Collingwood, Carlton
2017 Malcolm Blight North Melbourne, Geelong, Adelaide, St Kilda
2018 Denis Pagan North Melbourne, Carlton

Media Award

Awarded annually since 2009. Awarded to an individual who displays "respected and insightful coverage of AFL football at the professional level". All AFL coaches can nominate an individual.

Year Winner
2009 Greg Baum
2010 Daniel Harford
2011 Samantha Lane
2012 Jake Niall
2013 Daryl Timms
2014 Gerard Whateley
2015 Gerard Whateley (2)
2016 Gerard Whateley (3)
2017 Gerard Whateley (4)
2018 Gerard Whateley (5)
2019 Gerard Whateley (6)
2020 Gerard Whateley (7)
2021 Gerard Whateley (8)
2022 Gerard Whateley (9)
2023 Gerard Whateley (10)

Career & Education Award

Awarded annually since 2014.[14] Awarded to an AFL coach who has "shown exceptional commitment to their professional development".

Year Winner Club
2014 Steven King Western Bulldogs
2015 Paul Hudson St Kilda
2016 Andrew McQualter Richmond
Danny Sexton St Kilda
2017 Mitch Hahn Brisbane Lions
2018 Jordan Russell Western Bulldogs
2019 Dan Jordan Essendon
2020 not awarded
2021 Jaymie Graham West Coast
2022 Daniel Pratt West Coast
2023 Adrian Hickmott Hawthorn

Development Coach of the Year Award

Awarded in 2012 and 2013 and then reintroduced annually from 2022. Based on 50-50 input from both players and coaches, it is awarded to the highest-ranked AFL development coach based on "their overall performance [that] year".[15]

Year Winner Club
2012 Craig McRae Collingwood
2013 Chris Maple Western Bulldogs
2022 Michael Godden Adelaide
2023 Michael Godden (2) Adelaide
Mark Williams Melbourne

Phil Walsh Memorial Scholarship

Awarded annually since 2016. Awarded to an AFL coach who is "committed to developing themselves via study and travel".[16]

Year Winner Club
2016 Ben Rutten Richmond
2017 Adrian Hickmott West Coast
2018 Aaron Greaves Port Adelaide
2019 Damian Truslove Greater Western Sydney
2020 Luke Kelly Greater Western Sydney
2021 Scott Selwood Collingwood
2022 Neville Jetta Collingwood
2023 Tim Clarke Carlton

Support Staff Leadership Award

Awarded annually from 2003 to 2014. Awarded to an Australian rules support staff member who shows "outstanding contribution, innovation, [or] initiative in carrying out [their] duties".[17]

Year Winner VFL/AFL club/s
2003 Barry Gavin Hawthorn
2004 Bill Sutherland West Coast
2005 Eddie Walsh Western Bulldogs
2006 Ted Soderblom Richmond
2007 Noel Judkins Richmond, Essendon, Collingwood
2008 Shane O'Sullivan Carlton, Footscray, Brisbane Bears, North Melbourne
2009 Ken Whiffen St Kilda
2010 Ilmar Tiltins Richmond
2011 Arthur Wilkinson Melbourne
2012 John Kilpatrick Hawthorn
2013 Stephen Wells Geelong
2014 John Kilby Essendon

All-Australian team

A representative team was selected by the AFLCA in 2015 and 2016. In its first year, in what was described as "ditching traditional positions in favour of modern tactics,"[18] in each position on the field (decided by analysts), the highest-scoring player from the Champion Player of the Year Award voting was chosen. In its final year, a more traditional team line-up was selected.

2015 team

2015 AFL Coaches Association All-Australian team[18]
Name Position Club
Easton Wood Tall/medium defender Western Bulldogs
Alex Rance Tall defender Richmond
Zach Tuohy Small defender Carlton
Robert Murphy Medium defender Western Bulldogs
Cale Hooker Tall defender Essendon
Jarrad McVeigh Medium defender Sydney
Todd Goldstein Ruckman North Melbourne
Dan Hannebery Inside/outside midfielder Sydney
Nat Fyfe Inside midfielder Fremantle
Josh P. Kennedy Inside midfielder Sydney
Matt Priddis Inside midfielder West Coast
Andrew Gaff Inside/outside midfielder West Coast
Patrick Dangerfield Inside/outside midfielder Adelaide
Jake Stringer Key forward Western Bulldogs
Brett Deledio High half-forward Richmond
Chad Wingard Small forward Port Adelaide
Josh J. Kennedy Key forward West Coast
Jack Gunston Tall/medium forward Hawthorn
David Mundy Interchange inside midfielder Fremantle
Scott Pendlebury (captain) Interchange inside/outside midfielder Collingwood
Bernie Vince Interchange inside/outside midfielder Melbourne
Nic Naitanui Interchange ruckman West Coast

2016 team

2016 AFL Coaches Association All-Australian team[19]
B: Josh Gibson (Hawthorn) Alex Rance (Richmond) Rory Laird (Adelaide)
HB: Callan Ward (Greater Western Sydney) Robbie Tarrant (North Melbourne) Corey Enright (Geelong)
C: Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs) Joel Selwood (Geelong, captain) Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong)
HF: Dan Hannebery (Sydney) Tom Lynch (Gold Coast) Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide)
F: Eddie Betts (Adelaide) Josh Kennedy (West Coast) Nick Riewoldt (St Kilda)
Foll: Max Gawn (Melbourne) Rory Sloane (Adelaide) Dustin Martin (Richmond)
Int: Luke Parker (Sydney) Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood) Luke Shuey (West Coast)
Todd Goldstein (North Melbourne)

AFLW champion player of the year

Awarded each season since 2018. Each week, the senior coach of each AFL Women's club gives five votes to the player they consider to be best on ground in the game in which their team plays, four to the second-best, and so on to one for the fifth-best. The player with the most votes at the end of the season wins. The award has different rules to many "best and fairest" awards, as player suspensions are disregarded.

Season Winner Club
2018 Emma Kearney Western Bulldogs
Chelsea Randall Adelaide
2019 Erin Phillips Adelaide
2020 Jasmine Garner North Melbourne
2021 Kiara Bowers Fremantle
2022 (S6) Emily Bates Brisbane
2022 (S7) Jasmine Garner (2) North Melbourne

AFLW senior coach of the year

Awarded each season since 2019. After the preliminary finals, the senior coach of each AFL Women's club gives three votes to the other coach they consider to have performed best throughout the season, two to the second-best, and one to the third-best. The coach with the most votes from this process wins.

Season Winner Club
2019 Daniel Harford Carlton
2020 Trent Cooper Fremantle
2021 Craig Starcevich Brisbane
2022 (S6) Mick Stinear Melbourne
2022 (S7) Craig Starcevich (2) Brisbane


  1. ^ Laughton, Max (8 September 2015). "Sydney's Dan Hannebery wins AFL Coaches Association Champion Player of the Year Award over Nat Fyfe". Fox Footy. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  2. ^ Schmook, Nathan (29 August 2016). "Superstar Cat wins AFLCA award with record haul". Bigpond. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  3. ^ Schmook, Nathan (4 September 2017). "Votes record decides AFLCA player of the year". Bigpond. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  4. ^ Laughton, Max (3 October 2016). "Swan Josh Kennedy inaugural winner of Gary Ayres Award for best finals player, Grand Final coaches votes". Fox Sports (Australia). News Corp Australia. Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  5. ^ Laughton, Max (2 October 2017). "Dustin Martin earns AFLCA Gary Ayres Award for best finals player but Bachar Houli voted best in Grand Final". Fox Sports. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  6. ^ "Macrae claims Gary Ayres Medal". Western Bulldogs. AFL. Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  7. ^ Cellini, Aidan (26 September 2022). "Patrick Dangerfield wins 2022 Gary Ayres Medal after impressive AFL Finals Series". Sporting News. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  8. ^ "Brisbane Lion Keidean Coleman finished second and Pies Premiership star Bobby Hill finished third claiming the 15 @AFLCoaches grand final votes!". X (formerly Twitter). Retrieved 2 October 2023.
  9. ^ "Beveridge wins AFL coaches award". SBS. 30 September 2015. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  10. ^ McFarlane, Glenn (26 September 2017). "Damien Hardwick caps amazing Tiger turnaround by being named AFL Coach of the Year". Herald Sun.
  11. ^ Ryan, Peter; Pierik, Jon; Spits, Scott (20 September 2022). "McRae earns top coaching honour; Pies delist Brown brothers; Watson says Hird 'very keen' to return". The Age.
  12. ^ Beveridge, Riley (26 September 2023). "Outstanding inaugural season sees Kingsley crowned coach of the year". Retrieved 26 September 2023.
  13. ^ Edmund, Sam (13 October 2010). "Cats assistant coach Brendan McCartney moves to Essendon". Herald Sun. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  14. ^ "AFL Coaches Association Awards: Career & Education Award". AFL Coaches Association. 8 July 2015. Archived from the original on 8 July 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2023.
  15. ^ "Development Coach of the Year - AFLCA Awards". AFL Coaches Association. 31 August 2023. Retrieved 31 August 2023.
  16. ^ "All the winners from AFLCA Awards Night". AFL Coaches Association. 29 September 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  17. ^ "AFLCA Industry Awards". AFL Coaches Association. 1 January 2009. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  18. ^ a b "Coaches shock with revolutionary AA team". AFL. 22 September 2015. Archived from the original on 1 February 2016.
  19. ^ Gabelich, Josh (31 August 2016). "Riewoldt named in AFLCA All Australian team". St Kilda Football Club. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
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AFL Coaches Association awards
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