Geelong coach Chris Scott will have a wry smile on his face as the AFL recently announced an update to the McClelland Trophy.
For the 2023 season and beyond, the leading teams with the most points after the home-and-away season – for both AFL and AFLW – will be in the mix for a $1 million pay-day.
The McClelland Trophy – which was introduced back in 1951 – was brought in to recognise the minor premiers of the AFL competition but with no other award except the honour.
Now, due to the ongoing CBA negotiations, the league has opted to include the women’s league into the mix as well as the financial reward for finishing on top of the ladder.
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However, in order to receive the fee, both AFL and AFLW’s aggregate points in the home-and-away season must topple rival clubs.
Ironically, in August last year, Scott suggested that the minor premiers of the AFL competition was not acknowledged enough.
“I do have a view and I’ve had it for my whole career in footy, really,” Scott said on SEN.
“It’s that the AFL doesn’t do as good a job as some other competitions in recognising the minor premier.
“That being said, it’s difficult to slow down too much right at the moment because of the excitement that the next six weeks presents.”
Since 1991 (AFL era), Geelong have finished atop of the AFL ladder five times – with four of those coming from 2007 onwards – including 2022.
SEN’s Cam Luke also shared the same opinion at the time, flagging the $1 million award as a starting point.
“I’ve always been a firm believer that the minor premier should get an extra million dollars for finishing on top,” Luke said on SEN.
“Prize money is the way to go about it.
“There is no difference between finishing first or second, there is none.
“I think that first and second are identical. The team that’s on top of the ladder after 23 rounds should have a little extra thrown into the kick.
“Just give them a million.”
AFL Commission Chairman Richard Goyder informed the clubs at an AFL President’s meeting which will ultimately recognise and reward clubs that are “holistically successful”.
“It is important to recognise that all clubs now field both an AFL and an AFLW team, and the champion club should be the one that has the best combined performance across both competitions,” Mr Goyder said.
“We want to encourage and incentivise our clubs to support the AFL and AFLW programs and recognise the achievement and challenges in driving high performance across both elite competitions.
“The McClelland Trophy has a long history of being associated with the best performed club and it is appropriate that it now recognises achievement and success across the year in our AFL and AFLW elite competitions.”
In years gone by, Geelong (2022) would’ve been awarded the trophy, as would have Melbourne (2021) and Port Adelaide (2020).
How will the McClelland Trophy work?
The AFL men’s system currently states that a win is worth four points and a draw is worth two.
In the women’s competition, a win is worth eight and a draw is worth four.
Looking at the 2022 season for both AFL and AFLW, Melbourne would’ve been awarded the McClelland Trophy and the financial reward for finishing on top collectively after the home-and-away season.
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If there is a tie breaker, teams with a higher percentage will be awarded the trophy.
The points model will be reviewed each year based on changes in season length.