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The Norm Smith Medal, inaugurated in 1979 and awarded to the best player on AFL Grand Final day, is one of football’s highest honours. In this unprecedented survey of the players who strode onto the MCG and dominated the game’s most important day, Dan Eddy captures some of footy’s most memorable feats in the words of the men whose brilliance turned the contest. Now, for the first time, football lovers will be taken on a thrilling journey, from each medallist’s early days in football, right up until the moment he stood on the presentation dais soaking up the roar of the crowd. Riding every bump, celebrating each goal, and savouring in the unforgettable atmosphere of the day, readers will gain fresh and often surprising insights into classic Grand Final performances of the modern era. Named for the towering figure of the Melbourne Football Club—a man who played in four Premierships for the Demons and led them to six more in the space of a decade, as the game’s most revered and influential coach—the Norm Smith Medal has for five decades honoured the best of the best: the player who performed most brilliantly when the pressure was greatest: on that final Saturday in September. Unlike the Brownlow, the Norm Smith Medal is voted by members of the media, with a different panel appointed each year. From Wayne Harmes’s unforgettable, team-lifting display in 1979, through Gary Ayres’s brave, narrow-eyed brilliance in Hawthorn’s swaggering 1980s sides, right up to Dustin Martin’s flawless, unprecedented finale to the 2017 season, The Norm Smith Medal is a fascinating account of the game’s greatest individual performances.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dan Eddy is the author of several books about Australian football, the most recent of which is Larrikins and Legends—the untold story of Carlton’s greatest era. His first book, published in 2014, was King Richard: The Story of Dick Reynolds, Essendon Legend, which was the first biography on the player rated Essendon’s greatest. Eddy also co-authored Champions: Conversations with Great Players and Coaches of Australian Football (Slattery Media Group 2016), Skills of Australian Football (Slattery Media Group 2016), and Always Striving—the history of Essendon Football Club (Slattery Media Group 2017) and worked with Gold Medal-winning aerial skier, Lydia Lassila, updating her biography The Will To Fly (Slattery Media Group 2016).