Norm Smith Medal
The Norm Smith Medal is named after former Melbourne player and coach, Norm Smith. It was named in his honour mostly due to his coaching feats in Grand Finals: he coached six Melbourne premiership sides from eight appearances in Grand Finals.
As with most individual awards in team sports, the Norm Smith Medal is usually awarded to a player on the winning side. Only four players have won the award in losing sides: Maurice Rioli in 1982, Gary Ablett, Sr. in 1989, Nathan Buckley in 2002 and Chris Judd in 2005. It is notable that Ablett, Buckley and Judd won their medals in very close Grand Finals, whereas Rioli won his in the 1982 Grand Final, despite his team being convincingly beaten by Carlton. Judd is the only player to go on and play in a winning premiership team (West Coast 2006) after his Norm Smith medal in 2005 in a losing team. Lenny Hayes is the only player to win the Norm Smith in a drawn Grand Final, in 2010.
Gary Ayres and Andrew McLeod are the only players to have won the medal twice. In the 1997 and 1998 grand finals McLeod won consecutive Norm Smith Medals, and to date remains the only man ever to achieve this feat. The first winner of the medal, Wayne Harmes, was Norm Smith's nephew.
The medal is voted for by a panel of five experts from the media, with one member designated as the chairman. The panel-members independently award 3-2-1 votes to the players they adjudge to be the best three players in the game. These votes are tallied, and the highest number of votes wins the medal.
There is no chance of a tie for the medal; if two players are tied for votes, the following countbacks will apply in order:
- the player with the higher number of three-votes;
- the player with the higher number of two-votes;
- the player deemed best by the panel chairman.
In the case of a grand final being drawn and a replay being required, a separate Norm Smith Medal is awarded in each game.
There has been some criticism that the judging panel makes its decision late during the last quarter, before the game has ended, to fit into the post-game ceremonies. Therefore, the last minutes of the game are not taken into consideration when voting takes place.
List of winners
1 – Winner played on losing team.
2 – Two medals were awarded as the grand final was drawn, and a second match was played the following week.