The Magarey Medal is awarded to the fairest and most brilliant player in the SANFL each season and is the oldest individual football award in Australia.
The medal was originated by and is named after William Ashley Magarey who, in 1897, was the inaugural chairman of the South Australian Football Association (as the SANFL was then known). In 1898, in an effort to stamp out rough play and improve respect of umpires, Magarey instituted the medal to be awarded to the player deemed by umpires to be the fairest and most brilliant for that season. The inaugural winner of the medal was Norwood’s Alby Green. Magarey presented every medal until he died in 1929, with West Adelaide’s Robert Snell the last to receive the medal during Magarey’s life. The Magarey Medal is still awarded to the fairest and most brilliant SANFL player each season. The Reserves Magarey Medal recognises the standout performers in the seconds or Reserves. It is not unusual for the Reserves Magarey winner to play only half a season in the ‘seconds’ and the rest of the season in their club’s league team.
1898 Albert Green
Albert Green won the first Magarey Medal in 1898 while playing for Norwood. He was born in Menindee in NSW in 1874. His family moved to Adelaide in the mid 1870s.
Alby went to Glenelg Grammar School, St Peter’s Collegiate and, from 1889, Geelong Grammar, where his sporting prowess shone. He captained the school’s cricket and football teams, rowed in head of the river, was handy with a tennis racquet and could throw a cricket ball 97 metres.
Records also show he played 13 games with Geelong in the Victorian Football Association in 1892.
He returned to Adelaide and like his brother Tom played for Norwood. His football career came to a sudden end when the introduction of compulsory electorate football meant he wasn’t allowed to play for Norwood.
What happens after football is shrouded in mystery. He apparently died in 1913 but why and where are unknown.
1998 Andrew Osborn
Osborn won the medal in 1998 playing for South Adelaide. The hard working, relentlessly determined South Adelaide footballer had shown his potential from an early age, winning the club’s under-17 best and fairest trophy as well as the McCallum Medal in 1989. Two years later he helped the Panthers to a reserves flag before making his senior debut in 1992.
At the end of the 1992 season he was drafted by Geelong but was prevented by injury from breaking into the senior team and after just one year with the club was delisted. Five years later Osborn would suffer identical disappointment when drafted by Port Adelaide. Many lesser players would have called it a day at that point, but Osborn showed great determination and persistence to not only put his injury problems behind him, but produce his best season of football to date to claim the aforementioned Magarey Medal, as well as representing South Australia. He played 115 senior SANFL games and kicked 93 goals.
2001 Tom Brown and Ryan O’Connor
2001 saw two Port Adelaide players equal first in the Medal Count.
Tony Brown played 108 games for St Kilda before moving to the SANFL after the 2000 season. At Port Adelaide he became Captain. Brown quit Port Adelaide at the end of 2005 to return to Victoria for family reasons and signed to play with Leopold Football club where he won the GFL best and fairest award before he signed with Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA) club Old Haileybury where he again won the competition best and fairest.
Ryan O’Connor played 63 games for Essendon and then 24 for Sydney before moving to Port Adelaide. He starred, winning the Magarey Medal in 2001. O’Connor then moved back to Melbourne in 2004, and joined Coburg, winning the Best & Fairest that year before retiring midway through 2005.
2002 Tim Weatherald and Jade Sheedy
Again two players won the 2002 Magarey Medal but this year from Sturt.
He played 253 games with the Sturt Football Club, but left in 2008 to join the Redlegs. He won the 2002 Magarey Medal, jointly with his Sturt teammate Jade Sheedy, and that same year won the club’s best and fairest and was a member of Sturt’s 2002 premiership team.
He was part of the team celebrations that were cruelly cut short by the Bali bombing and wrote a book about his experiences.
After 13 years with the Double Blues in 2008, he shifted to the Norwood Football Club where played 58 games.
Recruited to Sturt from Mildura club Imperials in 2000, Sheedy was a member of the Sturt premiership team of 2002, a year he won the Magarey Medal with teammate Tim Weatherald. He was Sturt captain from 2007 to 2012 and captained the state football team in 2008 and 2009. He played 255 games with Sturt.
2003 Russel Ebert
Brett Ebert began his career with the Port Adelaide Magpies in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) and was drafted by the Port Adelaide under the father/son rule at the 2002 AFL Draft. Winning a Magarey Medal in 2003, Ebert made his AFL debut in 2004 and ended the season with the premiership winning side with 17 goals including 4 goals in the Round 10 win against Geelong, and an AFL Rising Star nomination. In 2005, he kicked 18 goals, only a goal more than the previous year.
First Class Collectables issued two covers to commemorate the win.
2004 Paul Thomas
After spending a year on the Adelaide Crows list as a rookie in 2002, Thomas went back to the SANFL where he worked on improving his game, and he won a Magarey Medal in 2004. The Essendon Football Club picked him up in the 2004 AFL Draft but was delisted at the end of the 2005 AFL season after eight games for Essendon.
StampsOz produced a cover.