Tom Wills, the man credited with founding Australian rules football, will be recognised during Sunday’s Powercor Country Festival match between Geelong and Essendon, with the player adjudged best on ground receiving the Tom Wills Award.

Wills was born in 1835 and grew up various regional areas on family owned properties. A great cricketer in his day, Wills is credited with co-writing the original rules of Australian rules football. Wills pushed for the establishment of a football code, and famously on 10 July 1858 his letter to Bells’ Life sports paper was the catalyst for the formation of the game we now know as Australian rules.

Wills was a co-founder of both the Geelong and Melbourne Football Clubs and was involved in the formation of the VFA in 1877. Wills played around 170 games with the Cats and captained the club. 

The voting panel for the Tom Wills Award is as follows;

Brian Taylor – Channel 7
Sandy Roberts – AFL Nation
Callum Twomey – AFL Media 

The panel will vote on a 3,2,1 basis.

Billy Brownless will present the player judged best afield with the Tom Wills Award post-match. 

Sunday's match kicks off at 3.20pm with the Powercor Country Festival commencing at 11am in the Yarra Park precinct.