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The annual Australian Football League Mark of the Year competition (currently also known as the Weet Bix AFL Mark of the Year) is a sporting award that celebrates each season's best 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.
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. Several other Australian rules football leagues followed with their own "Mark of the Year" competitions.
Thirty-two players have won the competition; of those, five have won multiple times and six are still active in the AFL. Peter Knights (Hawthorn) and Tony Modra (Adelaide/Fremantle) have won the most Mark of the Year awards, with three each.
The competition is run in conjunction with the Goal of the Year contest, which recognizes the best goal kicked during an AFL season. Two players have won both the "Mark of the Year" and "Goal of the Year" awards in the same season: Michael Mitchell and Peter Bosustow.
Currently also known by its sponsorship name as the "Weet Bix AFL Mark of the Year", the competition is open to players in the AFL (Australian rules football's highest league). Winners receive an assortment of prizes, including $5,000 for their grassroots (junior) club, the use of a Toyota Kluger for 12 months and the Alex Jesaulenko Medal.
The current Victorian Football League (formerly known as the Victorian Football Association) runs a similar competition; however, the winners are selected only from the few games that are televised. Many other amateur Australian rules football leagues also run an equivalent competition, but they often rely on less comprehensive television footage; some amateur leagues rely on spectators who submit photos and amateur video recordings to the league or to television shows such as the AFL Footy Show.
Chris Tarrant's mark in round 11, 2001 has been used as the basis of the silhouette for the Mark of the Year logo, despite its losing the Mark of the Year to Gary Moorcroft's round 14 mark. Many of the best marks in the VFL/AFL were featured in a VHS/DVD named Miracle Marks.
The competition was initiated following Alex Jesaulenko's mark over Graeme "Jerker" Jenkin in the 1970 (Victorian Football League) Grand Final and later recognised officially as the Mark of the Year; the medal awarded to the winner now bears his name. During the 1970s and early 1980s, the award was decided by a panel of football experts on Network Seven's "World of Sport" program and during the 1980s and 1990s, the winning mark was determined by selected football journalists and experts. With minor modifications, the current selection process was first used in the 1998 season. In 1990, the competition (originally known as the VFL Mark of the Year) was renamed the AFL Mark of the Year, following the inception of the AFL.
After each round of the regular AFL season, three "mark of the week" nominations are determined by a panel of football experts. The general public can then vote for a weekly winner on the AFL website.
After the regular season's end, the title is given to a single mark, which is chosen by the All-Australian selection committee; the public is not given a say in the final outcome. The selection committee is not restricted to choosing a winner from the mark of the week winners; indeed, in 2010, the two favourites both came in round 21, and although the public voted Brendon Goddard as mark of the week, the selection panel named Jurrah as Mark of the Year. The winner is announced during grand final week.
AFL Mark of the Year Winners
|*||Player is still active in the AFL|
|#||Player also won Goal of the year for the same year|
|^||Player has won Mark of the Year multiple times|
|Year||Winner||Team||Match, round, ground||Note|
|1970||Alex Jesaulenko||Carlton||Carlton vs. Collingwood, grand final day, Melbourne Cricket Ground||Spectacular mark over Graeme Jenkin during 1970 Grand Final.|
|1971||Alex Ruscuklic||Fitzroy||Fitzroy vs. Carlton, round 10, Princes Park||"High flyer" by centre-half forward Alex Ruscuklic.|
|1972||Peter Knights^||Hawthorn||Hawthorn vs. Collingwood, round 17, Glenferrie Oval||Half-back Peter Knights threw a screamer against Collingwood.|
|1973||Alan Atkinson||Collingwood||Collingwood vs. Hawthorn, round 21, Waverley Park||Atkinson took "Mark of the Year" over Leon Rice on the wing.|
|1974||Billy Picken^||Collingwood||Collingwood vs. Richmond, round 9, Melbourne Cricket Ground||Billy Picken took a screamer during the John Greening comeback game.|
|1975||Peter Knights^||Hawthorn||Hawthorn vs. Carlton, round 17, Princes Park||Juggled mark before Carlton player swung his leg, causing Knights to fall onto his chest.|
|1976||Billy Picken^||Collingwood||Collingwood vs. St Kilda, round 16, Victoria Park||Overhead mark by Billy Picken against St Kilda.|
|1977||Peter Knights^||Hawthorn||Collingwood vs. Hawthorn, round 9, Princes Park||Chest mark over the pack.|
|1978||Phil Baker||North Melbourne||Hawthorn vs. North Melbourne, grand final day, Melbourne Cricket Ground||High mark above Hawks defenders, Kelvin Moore and Ian Paton, in the 1978 Grand final.|
|1979||Michael Roach||Richmond||Richmond vs. Hawthorn, round 5, Melbourne Cricket Ground||Chest mark over Kelvin Moore, Terry Moore and Ian Paton.|
|1980||Graham Teasdale||South Melbourne||South Melbourne vs. Collingwood, round 7, Lake Oval||Graham Teasdale took a "marvellous mark" over Collingwood's Billy Picken.|
|1981||Peter Bosustow#||Carlton||Carlton vs. Geelong, round 18, Princes Park||Chest mark over the pack.|
|1982||Geoff Raines||Richmond||Richmond vs. Fitzroy, round 2, Waverley Park||Leapt high above his Fitzroy opponent before falling forward with the ball firmly in his grasp.|
|1983||Ken Hunter||Carlton||Carlton vs. Richmond, round 1, Princes Park||Overhead mark ran into a pack.|
|1984||Denis Banks||Collingwood||Footscray vs. Collingwood, round 10, Western Oval||Mark ran with the flight of the ball.|
|1985||Gary Ablett, Sr.^||Geelong||Geelong vs. North Melbourne, round 5, Kardinia Park||Specky over the pack.|
|1986||Alan Ezard||Essendon||Essendon vs. Carlton, round 5, Waverley Park||A towering chest mark over 6 ft 9 Justin Madden.|
|1987||Warwick Capper||Sydney||Sydney vs. Hawthorn, qualifying final, Waverley Park||Used Chris Langford as a stepladder to take the ball while lying on his side.|
|1988||Stephen Silvagni||Carlton||Collingwood vs. Carlton, round 14, Melbourne Cricket Ground||Chest mark with long hang-time over Craig Starcevich.|
|1989||Alastair Lynch||Fitzroy||Fitzroy vs. North Melbourne, round 16, Melbourne Cricket Ground||Juggling mark over the pack.|
|1990||Michael Mitchell#||Richmond||Richmond vs. Fitzroy, round 5, Melbourne Cricket Ground||A juggled mark against his Fitzroy opponent.|
|1991||Brett Allison||North Melbourne||North Melbourne vs. Collingwood, round 11, Melbourne Cricket Ground||Specky over Gavin Crosisca.|
|1992||Nicky Winmar||St Kilda||Essendon vs. St Kilda, round 16, Melbourne Cricket Ground||A "breathtaking" mark at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.|
|1993||Tony Modra^||Adelaide||Adelaide vs. North Melbourne, rRound 8, Football Park||Spectacular mark over Ian Fairley and Glenn Archer of North Melbourne. Adelaide came from behind to record a two-point win.|
|1994||Gary Ablett, Sr.^||Geelong||Collingwood vs. Geelong, round 7, Melbourne Cricket Ground||Took a magnificent leap, basically sitting in Magpie Gary Pert's arms and took a one-handed juggling mark.|
|1995||Shaun Smith||Melbourne||Brisbane vs. Melbourne, round 22, Brisbane Cricket Ground||"High leap" over teammate Garry Lyon.|
|1996||Ben Hart||Adelaide||Adelaide vs. St Kilda, round 8, Football Park||Intercepted 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.|
|1997||Tony Modra^||Adelaide||Adelaide vs. North Melbourne, round 17, Football Park||Against 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.|
|1998||Winston Abraham||North Melbourne||North Melbourne vs. Port Adelaide, round 18, Manuka Oval||An overhead mark over Port's Brendon Lade.|
|1999||Matthew Lappin||Carlton||Carlton vs. Essendon, round 1, Melbourne Cricket Ground||A courageous overhead mark over the pack in the opening match of the season over Judd Lalich.|
|2000||Tony Modra^||Fremantle||Fremantle vs. Geelong, round 1, Subiaco Oval||From within a pack, Tony Modra rose on the back of his opponent to take a spectacular, from the kick by team mate Ashley Prescott.|
|2001||Gary Moorcroft||Essendon||Essendon vs. Western Bulldogs, round 14, Telstra Dome||An overhead mark at full stretch after leaping onto and then springing a further metre into the air off Western Bulldogs player Brad Johnson.|
|2002||Jonathan Brown||Brisbane||Hawthorn vs. Brisbane, round 17, Melbourne Cricket Ground||A courageous chest mark running with the flight of the ball, launching into the oncoming Jade Rawlings.|
|2003||Chris Tarrant||Collingwood||Collingwood vs. Geelong, round 18, Telstra Dome||A towering chest mark over Geelong defenders, Matthew Scarlett and Max Rooke.|
|2004||Ashley Sampi||West Coast||West Coast vs. Melbourne, round 7, Melbourne Cricket Ground||Rose high with a chest mark over Paul Wheatley and Adem Yze, landing catlike on his feet.|
|2005||Luke McPharlin||Fremantle||Fremantle vs. West Coast, round 3, Subiaco Oval||A chest mark at knee height on the shoulders of an opponent in a pack of players.|
|2006||Brad Ottens||Geelong||Geelong vs. Sydney, round 5, Telstra Stadium||A high flying mark in a pack over Darren Jolly who cushioned Ottens' fall causing additional 'hang-time'.|
|2007||Michael Newton||Melbourne||Melbourne vs. Kangaroos, round 17, Telstra Dome||High leap in Melbourne's forward fifty over David Neitz and Kangaroos defenders, Glenn Archer and Leigh Brown.|
|2008||Matthew Lloyd||Essendon||Essendon vs. Melbourne, round 18, Melbourne Cricket Ground||A screamer over a pack of five players late in the third quarter.|
|2009||Brett Burton||Adelaide||Carlton vs. Adelaide, round 22, Etihad Stadium||Jumped 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.|
|2010||Liam Jurrah||Melbourne||Port Adelaide vs. Melbourne, round 21, AAMI Stadium||Huge leap over a contest between Melbourne's Jack Watts and Port Adelaide's, Nick Salter.|
|2011||Andrew Krakouer||Collingwood||Collingwood vs. Adelaide, round 9, Etihad Stadium||Very 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.|
|2012||Jeremy Howe*||Melbourne||Melbourne vs. Sydney, round 8, SCG||Huge 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.|
|2013||Jamie Elliott*||Collingwood||Collingwood vs. Port Adelaide, round 14, AAMI Stadium||Jumped through a pack of several players to take a spectacular chest mark.|
|2014||Chad Wingard*||Port Adelaide||Port Adelaide vs. St Kilda, round 12, Adelaide Oval||Jumped high above Sean Dempster, falling backwards as he took the mark above his head.|
|2015||Nic Naitanui*||West Coast||West Coast vs. Geelong, round 9, Patersons Stadium||Jumped high in a pack with Mark Blicavs, Jared Rivers and teammate Callum Sinclair.|
|2016||Majak Daw*||North Melbourne||Collingwood vs. North Melbourne, round 18, Etihad Stadium||Used Collingwood's, Jonathan Marsh as a springboard to take the ball over his head.|
|2017||Joe Daniher*||Essendon||St. Kilda vs. Essendon, round 17, Etihad Stadium||Used St Kilda's Jake Carlisle as a springboard and took a large pack mark over his head in the forward pocket.|
|2018||Isaac Heeney*||Sydney||Melbourne vs. Sydney, round 21, Melbourne Cricket Ground||Incredible high-flying grab turns star Demon into a stepladder.|
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