Best and fairest
The term "best and fairest", or "fairest and best" in some competitions (such as the West Australian Football League), is commonly used in Australian sport to describe the player(s) adjudged to have had the best performance in a game or over a season for a given sporting club or competition while not receiving a suspension for misconduct or breaching the rules during that season.
In the Australian Football League (formerly the VFL), the Brownlow Medal is awarded to the player who, provided he has not been suspended during the season, receives the most votes from the umpires for being the Fairest and Best player in games during the home and away season. In each game, the umpires award three votes to the player they judge to be the best afield in that game, two votes to the second-best player and one vote to the third-best player. The votes are counted at a gala function on the Monday preceding the Grand Final. The eligibility of suspended or reprimanded players due to minor offences to win the award has frequently been questioned.
Another "best and fairest" honour, the Leigh Matthews Trophy, is voted on by the AFL's players and awarded by their trade union, the AFL Players Association. Unlike the Brownlow, players who have served disciplinary suspensions during the season are still eligible to win this award.
The oldest such award is the Magarey Medal, awarded to the "Fairest and most brilliant" player in the South Australian National Football League. The award was created by William Ashley Magarey, then chairman of the league and was first awarded in 1898.
|Medal||League||First awarded||Award criteria||Comments|
|Brownlow Medal||Australian Football League||1924||Fairest and best||Awarded by the league|
|John Eales Medal||Wallabies||2002||Best||Awarded by the Australian Rugby Union and Rugby Union Players Association|
|Dally M Medal||National Rugby League||1980||Best and fairest|
|Sandover Medal||West Australian Football League||1921||Fairest and best||Awarded by the league|
|Magarey Medal||South Australian National Football League||1898||Fairest and most brilliant||First awarded in 1898, it is the oldest league wide award in Australian rules football|
|J. J. Liston Trophy||Victorian Football League||1945||Best and fairest||Between 1923 and the 1941 the Recorder Cup was awarded, and between 1933 and 1940 the VFA Medal was also awarded|
|Grogan Medal||Queensland AFL||1946||Best and fairest||The De Little Medal was awarded earlier|
|William Leitch Medal||Tasmanian State League||1930||Best and fairest||A previous award also existed|
|Morrish Medal||TAC Cup||1947||Best and fairest||The Morrish Medal was also the best and fairest award in the VFL/AFL Under-19s competition which was superseded by the TAC Cup in 1992|
|Larke Medal||AFL Under 18 Championships, Division 1||1976||Best|
|Hunter Harrison Medal||AFL Under 18 Championships, Division 2||1992||Best|
|Phelan Medal||Sydney AFL||Best and fairest|
|Baldock Medal||Northern Tasmanian Football League|
|Nichols Medal||Northern Territory Football League||1946||Best and fairest|
|Mulrooney Medal||AFL Canberra|
- John Devaney (2008). Full Points Footy: Encyclopedia of Australian Football Clubs. Volume one. Full Points Footy. p. 664. ISBN 978-0-9556897-0-3. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- Hogan, Jesse (28 September 2011). "Brownlow shake-up". The Age. Melbourne.
- "Only tweaking likely for Brownlow". 18 February 2005.
- "History of the SANFL". Archived from the original on 2010-06-19.