THE MELBOURNE Football Club will take home $1 million as the winners of the McClelland Trophy after ensuring an unbeatable lead at the top of the points table following the completion of round nine of the 2023 NAB AFLW Competition.
Heading into the second to last round of the competition it was Melbourne and the Brisbane Lions who were favourites to secure the Champion Club title with Melbourne sitting four points ahead on the leaderboard.
Following Brisbane's loss to St Kilda and Melbourne's win against Fremantle on Saturday afternoon, the Demons took an unassailable lead and will head into the final round as the Club who will win the $1 million.
As announced earlier in the year, the McClelland Trophy is a combined award presented to the 'Champion Club' that has accumulated the most points across both Toyota AFL Premiership Season and NAB AFLW competition.
The $1 million in prize money will be shared across the players and the Champion Club.
It has been agreed that the prize money will be broken down into $250,000 for AFLW players, $250,000 for AFL players, $250,000 for club football department staff (exempt from the soft cap), and $250,000 to be used by the Club at their discretion.
AFL Chief Executive Andrew Dillon congratulated Melbourne and said the revamped McClelland Trophy was an important piece of history and now fittingly represents the Champion Club across both the men's and women's competitions.
"Melbourne have consistently been at the top of both competitions, a testament to their players and their club's football programs and I congratulate all involved for this achievement," Mr Dillon said.
"This weekend as we reach the final home and away round of the NAB AFLW, not only are we celebrating diversity and inclusion for Pride Round, but have also recognised the achievements and success of the Melbourne Football Club in both home and away seasons."
The Club will formally receive the McClelland Trophy at the W Awards on 27 November.
The McClelland Trophy has a rich history in the game, having been awarded to the club that finished first on the ladder after the home and away season in the men's competition in recent years, after previously being awarded for overall club performance across seniors, reserves and under 19s when clubs fielded multiple teams.
Instituted in 1951 in the then-Victorian Football League, it was named after William McClelland – a former Melbourne premiership player, club captain, president of the MCC, and long-time VFL president from 1926-55.