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Melbourne Football Club

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Melbourne has acknowledged the Best and Fairest player in the men's side since 1935 (named the Keith 'Bluey' Truscott Memorial Trophy in 1943) and women's side since 2017.

The current holders of the award are Max Gawn for the men's side and Karen Paxman in the women's team.

Listed are all of the players named the Best and Fairest at the club across both sides.

AFLW Best and Fairest award

2019: Karen Paxman

2018: Daisy Pearce

2017: Daisy Pearce

Keith 'Bluey' Truscott Memorial Trophy winners

2018: Max Gawn

2017: Clayton Oliver

2016: Jack Viney

2015: Bernie Vince

2014: Nathan Jones

2013: Nathan Jones

2012: Nathan Jones

2011: Brent Moloney

2010: Brad Green

2009: Aaron Davey

2008: Cameron Bruce

2007: James McDonald

2006: James McDonald

2005: Travis Johnstone

2004: Jeff White

2003: Russell Robertson

2002: David Neitz

2001: Adem Yze

2000: Shane Woewodin

1999: David Schwarz

1998: Todd Viney

1997: Jim Stynes

1996: Jim Stynes

1995: Jim Stynes

1994: Garry Lyon

1993: Todd Viney

1992: Glenn Lovett

1991: Jim Stynes

1990: Garry Lyon

1989: Alan Johnson

1988: Steven O’Dwyer

1987: Steven Stretch

1986: Greg Healy

1985: Danny Hughes

1984: Gerard Healy

1983: Alan Johnson

1982: Steven Icke

1981: Steven Smith

1980: Laurie Fowler

1979: Laurie Fowler

1978: Garry Baker

1977: Robert Flower

1976: Greg Wells

1975: Laurie Fowler

1974: Stan Alves

1973: Carl Ditterich

1972: Stan Alves

1971: Greg Wells

1970: Frank Davis

1969: John Townsend

1968: Ray Groom

1967: Hassa Mann

1966: Terry Leahy

1965: John Townsend

1964: Ron Barassi

1963: Hassa Mann

1962: Hassa Mann

1961: Ron Barassi

1960: Brian Dixon

1959: Laurie Mithen

1958: Laurie Mithen

1957: John Beckwith

1956: Stuart Spencer

1955: Stuart Spencer

1954: Denis Cordner

1953: Ken Melville

1952: Geoff McGivern

1951: Noel McMahen

1950: Denis Cordner

1949: Len Dockett

1948: Alby Rodda

1947: Wally Lock

1946: Jack Mueller

1945: Fred Fanning

1944: Norm Smith

1943: Don Cordner

1942: Allan La Fontaine

1941: Allan La Fontaine

1940: Ron Baggott

1939: Jack Mueller

1938: Norm Smith

1937: Jack Mueller

1936: Allan La Fontaine

1936: Allan La Fontaine

About the awards

Melbourne’s awards are named after Club identities, with particular concentration on our wartime fallen.  Below are the identities as they have evolved since the Best and Fairest was first awarded in 1935.  The Best and Fairest was named in Truscott’s honour as of 1943.  Other awards for performance at the Casey Demons and staff awards are named in honour of the late Troy Broadbridge and Jim Cardwell.

A new award was also added in 2013, with the James McDonald award for the Best Team Man recognising the contribution of McDonald as dual Best and Fairest, respected captain and contributor throughout his career.

Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott – Best and Fairest
Guernsey No. 5
Heritage No. 557
1937 – 1940, 1942
50 games, 31 goals
Premierships 1939, 1940

A larger than life redhead who went on to become a wartime hero, renowned for his prowess as a pilot, ‘Bluey’ played on a half forward flank and was celebrated for his determination.  He was killed in an air accident over Exmouth Gulf (WA) in 1943, and Melbourne coach ‘Checker’ Hughes named the Best and Fairest in his honour. 

Sid Anderson – Second Best and Fairest
Guernsey No. 36
Heritage No. 575
1939 – 1941
52 games, 12 goals
Premierships 1939, 1940, 1941

An RAAF navigator, Anderson – who was also a brilliant cricketer - was a wingman who had the agility to match his height, although his light frame was sometimes a concern.  Among the best at Grand Final time, playing in a memorable hattrick of flags for Melbourne, Anderson lost his life in the air over New Guinea in 1944.  His fate was not known for some time, as he was listed as ‘missing, believed killed’.

Ron Barassi Snr – Third Best and Fairest
Guernsey No. 31
Heritage No. 551
1936 – 1940
58 games, 84 goals
Premiership 1940

A courageous rover, Barassi was nineteenth man in the 1940 premiership side.  Tragically, he was killed at Tobruk when he took over driving an ambulance from an ill colleague. Melbourne went on to foster the talents of his son, Ronald Junior, with the entire family at the heart of the Club.  One of the central documents at the Club is the Coterie supporter group’s ‘pledge’, committing to assist the Barassi family following Ron Snr’s death.  Ronald Jnr then came to Melbourne as the first example of the father-son rule, and became a legend of the game.

Ivor Warne-Smith – Fourth Best and Fairest
Guernsey No. 14
Heritage No. 355
1919, 1925 – 1932
146 games, 110 goals
Premiership 1926
Brownlow Medallist 1926, 1928

A quiet achiever who could ‘play anywhere’, Warne-Smith dominated his era, winning Brownlows in 1926 and 1928, later ruling supreme in a different role, working with the likes of Norm Smith, Albert Chadwick and Jim Cardwell to construct the Melbourne brilliance of the 1950s and 1960s.  Ivor did not have a straightforward path into the game, however.  He was a Gallipoli veteran, who was gassed under fire, but who also served in WW2.  Ivor went to play in Tasmania and run an apple farm after his first season with Melbourne – and was only persuaded to continue his career after a number of VFL clubs expressed an interest due to his starring role at the Latrobe Football Club.

Dick Taylor – Fifth Best and Fairest
Guernsey No. 35
Heritage No. 404
1922 – 1931, 1935
164 games, 100 goals
Premiership 1926

One of the finest centremen of his day, Taylor played a major part in Melbourne’s 1926 premiership success, and went on to serve as a Committee member after his retirement.  A model of consistency, he played over 100 consecutive games.  He is best known for his ground skills, and during that era, his partnership with teammate Stan ‘Bunny’ Wittman heading down the MCG wing was legendary.  Taylor played 15 times for Victoria, and went on to coach North Melbourne in 1932 and 1933, before heading back to resume his involvement with Melbourne.

Norm Smith – Coaches Award
Guernsey No. 4
Heritage No. 543
1935 – 1948
210 games, 546 goals
Premierships 1939, 1940, 1941, 1948

Before he coached the Club to six premierships in 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960 and 1964, ‘Smithy’ ruled supreme in Melbourne’s forward line, playing in the premierships of 1939, 1940, 1941 and 1948.  The Club’s all-time leading goalkicker until surpassed by David Neitz, he dominated the game for four decades as coach, player and larger than life personality.  However, when he first came to the Club, he was renowned for being unobtrusive, gradually growing into a force to be reckoned with as he made his way in the game.  This extended into his seasons as coach, in which he confirmed himself as one of the most intense competitors ever seen.  He is the coach of both the AFL and MFC Teams of the Century.  In the ultimate recognition, the award for the best player on the ground on Grand Final Day is named in his honour – the Norm Smith Medal.

Ron Barassi Jnr – Leadership Award
Guernsey No. 31
Heritage No. 741
1953 – 1964
204 games, 295 goals
Premierships 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1964

A true legend of the game, Barassi is integral to Melbourne, and was part of the Club from his childhood, with his father having played a generation before.  Barassi Jnr revolutionised the role of ruck rover, and his natural leadership skills proved instrumental to his success as both player and coach.  He also had the mixed blessing of living with coach Norm Smith during his youth, with Smith being harder on Barassi than any other player.  However, Barassi was up to the challenge - a fierce competitor who captained the Club to two flags out of the six premiership sides in which he played, and went on to cement his fame as a master coach at both Carlton and North Melbourne, and an innovator of the game, particularly in fostering the ‘Irish Experiment’ that brought Jim Stynes and Sean Wight to the Melbourne Football Club.

Harold Ball – Best Young Player
Guernsey No. 11
Heritage No. 569
1939 – 1940
33 games, 33 goals
Premierships 1939, 1940

An emerging ruckman, Ball was fundamental to the premiership successes of the Club in 1939 and 1940, before losing his life during World War Two.  He originally hailed from Merbein, in the north of Victoria, and like other ruckmen who followed him, wore the No. 11 guernsey with great pride.  Ball worked at the MCG as a groundsman when he first came to Melbourne, and was instrumental in the team’s success in 1939 and 1940.  He was shaping up as an inspiring defender, and in his first year, was named as the team’s Best First Year player.  The award was named in his honour as of 1946. Ball was just 21 when he was killed on an expedition to collect and transport the wounded, and was buried at Kranji War Cemetery in Singapore.

Ian Ridley – Club Ambassador Award
Guernsey No. 24
Heritage No. 755
1954 – 1961
130 games, 228 goals
Premierships 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960

One of the most gritty, tenacious rovers of his day, and rated as the best since the war, Ian ‘Tiger’ Ridley - originally from Jeparit in the Mallee - was widely known for his selflessness and enthusiasm, and for overcoming bad eyesight and lack of height to become a legend of the game.   Jim Cardwell (Club Secretary and recruiting guru) summed up Ridley when he described him – ‘Small in inches but very big in heart.’  Ridley was the first to ever play wearing contact lenses, and was a key figure in five Melbourne premierships.  In 1958, when Melbourne was defeated by Collingwood in a shock loss, he had his nose badly broken, but played on regardless.  After retirement, Ridley coached the Club between 1971 and 1973.  He also went on to serve in a number of wider V/AFL and administrative posts, particularly as Melbourne’s Club President between 1992 and 1996.