mark of the year

At the end of each home and away AFL season an annual Australian Football League Mark of the Year award is given to the player who is judged to have taken the most spectacular mark. A mark is the action of a player cleanly catching a kicked ball that has travelled more than 15 metres (49 ft) without the ball hitting the ground. The winning mark will usually be a spectacle that will include a high level of talent or courage.

Originally known as the “VFL Mark of the Year” and selected by a panel of football experts on Network Seven’s World of Sport program, the contest was renamed the “AFL Mark of the Year” following the competition’s renaming in 1990. Since 2001 it has been run by the AFL. It is open only to players within the AFL and applies to marks taken during official AFL season matches.

A famous VFL footballer, Alex Jesaulenko, unofficially won the first award for a “spectacular mark” during the 1970 VFL Grand Final, a mark that has been frequently called “The Mark of the Century”.

AFL Mark of the Year Winners

YearWinnerTeamNote
1970Alex JesaulenkoCarltonSpectacular mark over Graeme Jenkin during 1970 Grand Final.
1971Alex RuscuklicFitzroy“High flyer” by centre-half-forward Alex Ruscuklic.
1972Peter KnightsHawthornHalf-back Peter Knights threw a screamer against Collingwood.
1973Alan AtkinsonCollingwoodAtkinson took “Mark of the Year” over Leon Rice on the wing.
1974Billy PickenCollingwoodBilly Picken took a screamer during the John Greening comeback game.
1975Peter KnightsHawthornJuggled mark before Carlton player swung his leg, causing Knights to fall onto his chest.
1976Billy PickenCollingwoodOverhead mark by Billy Picken against St Kilda.
1977Peter KnightsHawthornChest mark over the pack.
1978Phil BakerNorth MelbourneHigh mark above Hawks defenders, Kelvin Moore and Ian Paton, in the 1978 Grand final.
1979Michael RoachRichmondChest mark over Kelvin Moore, Terry Moore and Ian Paton.
1980Graham TeasdaleSouth MelbourneGraham Teasdale took a “marvellous mark” over Collingwood’s Billy Picken.
1981Peter BosustowCarltonChest mark over the pack.
1982Geoff RainesRichmondLeapt high above Fitzroy’s David McMahon before falling forward with the ball firmly in his grasp.
1983Ken HunterCarltonOverhead mark ran into a pack.
1984Denis BanksCollingwoodMark ran with the flight of the ball.
1985Gary Ablett, SrGeelongSpecky over the pack.
1986Alan EzardEssendonA towering chest mark over 6 ft 9 Justin Madden.
1987Warwick CapperSydneyUsed Chris Langford as a stepladder to take the ball while lying on his side.
1988Stephen SilvagniCarltonChest mark with long hang-time over Craig Starcevich.
1989Alastair LynchFitzroyJuggling mark over the pack.
1990Michael Mitchell#RichmondA juggled mark against his Fitzroy opponent.
1991Brett AllisonNorth MelbourneSpecky over Gavin Crosisca.
1992Nicky WinmarSt KildaA “breathtaking” mark at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
1993Tony ModraAdelaideSpectacular mark over Ian Fairley and Glenn Archer of North Melbourne. Adelaide came from behind to record a two-point win.
1994Gary Ablett, Sr.GeelongTook a magnificent leap, basically sitting in Magpie Gary Pert’s arms and took a one-handed juggling mark.
1995Shaun SmithMelbourne“High leap” over teammate Garry Lyon.
1996Ben HartAdelaideIntercepted Peter Everitt’s inside-50 entry by jumping and lying on his back three metres into the air, at the northern end of Football Park against St Kilda.
1997Tony ModraAdelaideAgainst North Melbourne, Modra rode high on Mick Martyn’s shoulders facing towards the crowd with the ball coming in from behind. Turned in midair and grabbed the ball.
1998Winston AbrahamNorth MelbourneAn overhead mark over Port’s Brendon Lade.
1999Matthew LappinCarltonA courageous overhead mark over the pack in the opening match of the season over Judd Lalich.
2000Tony ModraFremantleFrom within a pack, Tony Modra rose on the back of his opponent to take a spectacular, from the kick by team mate Ashley Prescott.
2001Gary MoorcroftEssendonAn overhead mark at full stretch after leaping onto and then springing a further metre into the air off Western Bulldogs player Brad Johnson.
2002Jonathan BrownBrisbaneA courageous chest mark running with the flight of the ball, launching into the oncoming Jade Rawlings.
2003Chris TarrantCollingwoodA towering chest mark over Geelong defenders, Matthew Scarlett and Max Rooke.
2004Ashley SampiWest CoastRose high with a chest mark over Paul Wheatley and Adem Yze, landing catlike on his feet.
2005Luke McPharlinFremantleA chest mark at knee height on the shoulders of an opponent in a pack of players.
2006Brad OttensGeelongA high flying mark in a pack over Darren Jolly who cushioned Ottens’ fall causing additional ‘hang-time’.
2007Michael NewtonMelbourneHigh leap in Melbourne’s forward fifty over David Neitz and Kangaroos defenders, Glenn Archer and Leigh Brown.
2008Matthew LloydEssendonA screamer over a pack of five players late in the third quarter.
2009Brett BurtonAdelaideJumped early on a pack consisting of team mate Kurt Tippett and Carlton’s Ruckman, Matthew Kreuzer, and received an extra lift off of Carlton backman Bret Thornton to take the mark on his chest. Commentator Dwayne Russell dubbed it one of the marks of the century.
2010Liam JurrahMelbourneHuge leap over a contest between Melbourne’s Jack Watts and Port Adelaide’s, Nick Salter.
2011Andrew KrakouerCollingwoodVery high leap on the shoulders of Adelaide’s Luke Thompson.The decision created outrage the football community, as the unanimous view of players, fans, the media, and even Krakouer himself was that Andrew Walker of the Carlton Football Club was robbed of the award and deserved to win for his mark in round 18 against Essendon, which received international media attention.
2012Jeremy HoweMelbourneHuge screamer over Heath Grundy. One of Howe’s many high marks throughout the 2012 season. Howe taking a contender for mark of the year was almost a weekly occurrence.
2013Jamie ElliottCollingwoodJumped through a pack of several players to take a spectacular chest mark.
2014Chad WingardPort AdelaideJumped high above Sean Dempster, falling backwards as he took the mark above his head.
2015Nic NaitanuiWest CoastJumped high in a pack with Mark Blicavs, Jared Rivers and teammate Callum Sinclair.
2016Majak DawNorth MelbourneUsed Collingwood’s Jonathan Marsh as a springboard to take the ball over his head.
2017Joe DaniherEssendonUsed St Kilda’s Jake Carlisle as a springboard and took a large pack mark over his head in the forward pocket.
2018Isaac HeeneySydneyIncredible high-flying grab turns star Demon into a stepladder.
2019Liam RyanWest CoastIncredible high-flying grab in the goal-square turns the Demon Ruckman into a stepladder.
2020Sam WalshCarltonSam Walsh went running back with the flight into a pack, marking the footy, while getting knocked to the ground.