AFL.COM.AU's own Riley Beveridge has been honoured as the best young media performer in the 2020 Australian Football Media Association awards. 

Beveridge, who contributes to AFL Media's digital channels across text, video and as a co-host of the AFL Exchange podcast, was awarded the Clinton Grybas Rising Star, a category only open to people aged 28 and under on March 21 this year - the date of the first game of the season. 


AFL Exchange, the weekly in-season podcast hosted by Beveridge, Mitch Cleary and Callum Twomey, was also highly commended in the Best Podcast category. 

The prestigious Alf Brown Award for the best overall media performer in 2020 went to broadcaster Gerard Whateley for his work with Fox Footy and SEN. 

Riley Beveridge (centre) on set with Cal Twomey and Matthew Lloyd in 2019. Picture: AFL Media

2020 Australian Football Media Association award winners

The AFMA Committee is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 AFMA Awards.

2020 will go down as one on the most challenging and thought-provoking years in the history of the game and the awards are designed to celebrate and recognise the media coverage, content and analysis across both AFL and AFLW.

Judging was completed by fellow members of the media industry and other relevant dignitaries. Each category had three judges.


1. Best News Reporter

Merges print, digital, radio, TV. Entrants will be judged on an ability to break news, exclusivity, relevance, accuracy and impact. Maximum three separate stories per entry.

Winner: Glen Quartermain, The Sunday Times 

The Sunday Times' Glen Quartermain produced the most significant story with his exclusive revelation that former Geelong champion Graham "Polly" Farmer had become the first VFL/AFL player to be officially diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Quartermain set the agenda on a story that sent shock waves through the industry as concussion to former and current players, and the threat of severe brain damage, continues to be a subject of growing concern in football. 

Commendable Mention: Michael Warner, Herald Sun, Tom Morris, Fox Footy and Tom Browne, Channel Seven/Triple M 

2. Best Feature Writer

Entrants will be judged on writing excellence, originality, impact and creativity. Maximum three separate pieces per entry. 

Winner: Russell Jackson, ABC 

Russell Jackson's 'The persecution of Robert Muir' is long-form journalism at its best - a sensitive and painfully powerful account of a man who was defined by a nickname, who more than 35 years after being hounded from the game has finally shared his uncomfortable story. Jackson's work displays excellence, originality, creativity and, through the widespread remorse it prompted in the football world, especially impact. His supporting stories are of a similar standard. The clear winner.

Commendable Mention: Jake Niall, The Age 

Former St Kilda footballer Robert Muir. Picture: Tony Hill/ ABC News

3. Best Opinion and Analysis

Print, digital, radio, TV. Columnists, hot takes, panelists … the most coherent, impactful, articulate opinion or analysis across any platform. Maximum three separate pieces per entry 

Winner: Jake Niall, The Age

Jake Niall’s considered opinion and analysis continues to offer unique insights into the modern game along with how historical milestones such as the 1970 Grand Final fit into the game’s legacy. His analysis of the Dean Laidley arrest story laid bare contradictory social trends and a cultural change within the AFL. It was compelling reading.

Commendable Mention: Ross Lyon, Footy Classified, Channel Nine 

4. Best AFLW Reporting

Entrants will be judged on news breaking, feature writing, insight, impact and a consistent high standard of reportage of AFLW stories in the past 12 months. The award is open to all forms of media. Maximum three stories per entry. 

Winner: Lauren Wood, Herald Sun

A strong hand featuring breaking stories and informative features. The behind-the-scenes coverage provided of the issues with the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the AFLPA voting process was significant from a news perspective. Then, as the 2020 season kicked off, Lauren took readers inside the establishment of Richmond’s AFLW program and the journey back to the game post-pregnancy of one of its biggest stars, Melbourne Captain Daisy Pearce. Two quality features that rounded out an excellent body of work. She makes a worthy winner.

Commendable Mention: Peter Ryan, The Age

5. Best Coverage of AFLW (club)

Entrants to be judged on which club best utilises its own media platforms to showcase and cover all aspects of AFLW. Maximum three stories per entry.

Winner: Carlton Football Club

The depth and breadth of media in this entry set it apart from the field.

It included substantial content and stories, as well as more simple fly-on-the-wall locker room insights featuring some infectious fun.

Carlton’s use of a range of its players to host and drive the media in its entry was impressive. This not only develops players’ skills, it also creates football media with more diversity - specially, through elevating the visibility and voices of women.

Commendable Mention: Geelong Football Club

6. Best Action Photo

Photographers submit a maximum of six photographs, which will be used to judge both categories.

Winner: Quinn Rooney, Getty Images – Mark Blicavs of the Cats Handball 

 An amazing capture of airborne athleticism and skill by Geelong's Mark Blicavs.

Commendable Mention: Michael Klein, Herald Sun  - Gabba Rain 

Geelong's Mark Blicavs handballs. Picture: Quinn Rooney, Getty Images

7. Best News or Feature Photo

Photographers submit a maximum of six photographs, which will be used to judge both categories.

Winner: Michael Klein, Herald Sun – First Bounce of the 2020 Season

A season like no other is captured perfectly by Michael Klein. The opening bounce at the MCG normally has over eighty thousand fans watching on, but here we see thousands of empty seats in our greatest stadium as Richmond and Carlton open the season. 

Commendable Mention: Darrian Traynor, Getty Images - Drive Through  

First Bounce of the 2020 Season. Picture: Michael Klein, Herald Sun

8. Best TV Program

Entrants will be judged on insight into football, relevance, depth of discussion, quality of analysis, entertainment. Entries a maximum or three stories and five minutes 

Winner: AFL360, Fox Footy

In a year like no other, the judges felt it was important for the best TV program to be responsive to the many and quick changes to the season and provide a well-rounded view of the game as a whole, not just the on field action.

AFL 360 captured this view and did so with authority, relevance and appropriate touches of light hearted entertainment. The program provided a terrific insight into the mindset of the players coaches and administrators and took the audience on a rollercoaster journey that captured a unique season 2020. 

Commendable Mention: On The Couch, Fox Footy

9. Best TV Commentator (match day) 

Entrants will be judged on colour/flair, accuracy, use of the language and an ability to marry the words with the pictures. Entries a maximum of five minutes. 

Winner: Anthony Hudson, Fox Footy 

In a close decision, Anthony Hudson's entry showcased his informed calling, good use of language and ability to insert background stories into the relevant players such as Joe Daniher and Josh Daicos. Brayshaw's call of Jack Newnes goal was also memorable, but Hudson's entry was judged slightly ahead overall.

Commendable Mention: James Brayshaw, Channel Seven 

10. Best Special Commentator (TV and radio)

Entrants will be judged on quality of analysis, incisiveness, clarity of thought, use of the medium. Entry a maximum of five minutes. 

Winner: Nick Riewoldt, Fox Footy

Nick Riewoldt is head and shoulders above the others. He provides insightful, clear and concise analysis, and knows when to take a less-serious view at footy when the game needs it.

Commendable Mention: Leigh Montagna, Triple M

11. Best Radio Program

Entrants will be judged on football insight, discussion depth, analytical quality, relevance, entertainment. Entry a maximum of five minutes.

Winner: Gerard Whateley AFL Nation, SEN

Whateley is a master craftsman. Combining knowledge, perspective and gravitas with an unrivalled command of the language allows Whateley to hit the right notes at the right time.  He informs with precision, entertains without hyperbole and has a profound sense of the game, it's history and the issues that matter to his audience. Notably, Whateley is prepared to assume a level of thought leadership, commanding respect from a high-level line-up of guests who are asked the questions that matter.

Commendable Mention: Sports Talk ABC Perth

12. Best Radio Commentator (match day)

Entrants will be judged on clarity, accuracy, colour/flair, use of the language/ability to paint the picture. Entry a maximum of five minutes.

Winner: Anthony Hudson, SEN

Generates a great atmosphere with his call, which is especially important this season without the usual crowds. His voice rises to the occasion and he commentates with clarity and authority. Knows when to pause to allow the crowd in. Highly absorbing, entertaining and informative caller. 

Commendable Mention: Alister Nicholson, ABC

13. Best Podcast

Entrants will be judged on football insight, depth of discussion, relevance, quality of analysis, entertainment, relevance. Submit a maximum of five minutes audio which best reflects the quality of the podcast 

Winner: Sacked, Herald Sun

The judges determined that the Sacked podcast’s ability to take listeners behind the curtain on some of football’s most interesting and often emotional times.

The story telling element was key and the hosts had clearly done a lot of research, which was evident in your sense of getting lost in the stories as you listen which is always a good marker that the content is quality

Commendable Mention: AFL Exchange

14. Best Club Media

Entrants to be judged on originality, impact, creativity, public interaction. Entries a maximum of five minutes.

Winner: Melbourne Football Club – To Hell and Back

Beautifully shot pre-season documentary which gave a great insight into the off season at a footy club - training, draft and list decisions and leadership group voting

Commendable Mention: Hawthorn Football Club 

15. Clinton Grybas Rising Star

The most outstanding young media performer of the season. Restricted to individuals aged 28 and under on March 21, 2020, the date of the first game of the season. No restriction on how long the entrant has been working in the media. Entrants must be nominated by an editorial executive of the organisation at which they work in a maximum 300-word letter. A folio of work to be submitted to support the nomination.

Winner: Riley Beveridge, AFL Media

Versatile and creative, Riley is an outstanding young journalist. He has a proven ability to break news, as well as craft compelling written features and analysis. Further adding to his talents, he is also an engaging and vibrant video and podcast host. Honest and dedicated, Riley’s reputation in the AFL industry continues to go from strength to strength, and will hold him in good stead for a bright future.

Commendable Mention: Mitch Finlayson, Nine, AFL Media

16. Alf Brown Award

Presented to the best overall media performer during the 12 month period. The winner will be selected from the pool of individual award winners of the above categories.

The category judges will be asked to make a recommendation on whether they believe the winner of the category in which they have voted is worthy of nomination for the Alf Brown award. The award itself will then be judged by a panel of senior judges 

Winner: Gerard Whateley AFL Nation, SEN, Fox Footy

To borrow a line from Gerard Whateley, this year's Alf Brown winner was the most superb of broadcasters at the most crucial moments. Through his tirelessly high standard of radio and TV work, Whateley gave voice to an AFL season whose very continuance was a sporting miracle.

Commendable Mention: Russell Jackson, ABC

The AFMA thanks all the judges who were involved in the voting for the 2020 Awards.

Judges (in alphabetical order):

Adam White, Andy Maher, Anthony Hudson, Bianca Chatfield, Caroline Wilson, Chip Le Grand Clint Stanaway Damian Barrett, Daniel Cherny, Daryl Timms, Dee Dee Dunleavy, Digby Beacham, Ewan Giles, Gary O’Keeffe, Greg Baum, Hugh Nailon, Jake Niall, Jay Allen, John Clark, John Donegan, Julian De Stoop, Kate Sheahan, Kelli Underwood, Leigh Henningham, Martin Pakula, Matt Kitchin, Michael Neill, Michael Stevens, Mike Sheahan, Nat Edwards, Nigel Carmody, Ondrej Foltin, Peter Hanlon, Rebecca Maddern, Sam Lane, Sandy Roberts, Sarah Jones, Stephen Quartermain, Susan Alberti, Tom Salom, Toni Hetherington, Tony Schibeci 

About the AFMA 

The AFMA is made up from volunteers from across the football media industry including all major media partners and the AFL.