AFL icon Leigh Matthews will present the Jock McHale medal to this year’s premiership coach.
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan launched the finals series in Melbourne on Wednesday, announcing Matthews and Shannon Grant will play big roles at the grand final.
Grant will present the Norm Smith medal, awarded to the played judged best on ground in the premiership decider.
Grant, who played a total of 301 AFL games, won the 1999 Norm Smith when he kicked four goals in North Melbourne’s 35-point win over Carlton.
Matthews, named among the inaugural legends in the AFL’s Hall of Fame, won four VFL flags as a player with Hawthorn then lifted a further four cups as coach.
Sydney coach John Longmire will formally hand over the Coleman medal to West Coast forward Josh Kennedy at Thursday’s All Australian awards, while former Swan Michael O’Loughlin has been named cup ambassador.
Meanwhile, the league is reintroducing the Edwin Wilson shield as a perpetual trophy.
The shield hasn’t been used in almost 40 years, with VFL administrators ending the tradition in 1979 because there was no room left.
The AFL has dusted it off, enlarged the award and it will now be presented annually along with the premiership cup.
“It will stay in a prominent position at AFL house .. and celebrate a great contribution to our game,” McLachlan said,
“It’ll be a great addition to the chase for premiership glory.”