The McClelland Trophy is an Australian rules football trophy, currently awarded to the team finishing first on the ladder after the completion of the home-and-away season before the finals are played by the Australian Football League (AFL) each year.
Prior to 1991 the trophy was presented to the team with the best overall home-and-away record across the three levels of VFL/AFL play: seniors, reserves and under 19s. Seniors wins were worth ten points, reserves were worth four, and under 19s were worth two (with the values halved for drawn games).
In 1991 the criteria for winning the McClelland Trophy was changed to its current status: finishing atop the AFL ladder at the end of the home-and-away season. Shortly after 1991 the Under 19s level of the league was replaced with a separate junior competition now known as the TAC Cup. The Under 18s and the AFL Reserves competition were later scrapped in favour of an alignment with the then Victorian Football Association, which became known as the VFL prior to the start of its 1996 season.
The award is relatively low key, with no prize money because although finishing on top of the ladder ensures a slightly advantageous draw in the AFL Finals Series, the main goal of all teams is to win the AFL Premiership, by winning the grand final.
It is erroneously believed that winners of the McClelland trophy are also given the title "minor premiers". The League has not used this term for over a century.
|Team||All grades (1951 - 1990)||Top of Ladder (1991 - present)||Total||Most Recent Win|
|Greater Western Sydney||N/A||0||0|
|West Coast Eagles||-||3||3||2006|
- Richmond won the trophy four times in a row from 1972 until 1975, the most consecutive of any team.
- Collingwood (1964-1966), Hawthorn (1984-1986, inc 1985 tied), Essendon (1999-2001) and Port Adelaide (2002-2004) each won it three times in a row.
- Thirteen of the 41 McClelland Trophy winners between 1951 and 1990 went on to win the premiership in the same year.
- Only three of the McClelland Trophy winners since 1991 have missed the grand final: Essendon (1999), Port Adelaide (2002, 2003) and Adelaide (2005).
- Football Record 30/31 March/ 1 April 1991 page 3. McClelland Trophy! A New Look.
- Lovett, Michael, ed. (2005). AFL Record: Guide to season 2005. Melbourne: AFL Publishing. p. 738. ISBN 0-9580300-6-5.
- "Peter Pianto wins Trophy". The Age. 23 July 1957. p. 16. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
- Stevens, Mark (18 July 2007). "Cats should be rewarded". Herald Sun. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
- Wilson, Caroline (13 November 2009). "Saints struggle for profit despite successful season". The Age (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 2009-11-15.
- Wilson, Caroline (24 August 2003). "Only one trophy good enough for Port". The Age (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 2009-11-15.