Darren Glass

Darren Glass... robbed of far too many Brownlow votes.

Best moment of last night's Brownlow Medal count?

Jobe Watson winning. And not just because I had money on him.

When I have a son, I want him to grow up to be like Jobe. To be honest, I wish I personally shared more traits with Jobe than just being slow of foot and much taller than Bruce McAvaney.

By Jobe, he's done it: Brownlow medallist Jobe Watson.

2012 Brownlow medallist Jobe Watson. Photo: Paul Rovere

Saddest moment of the count (apart from Leigh Matthews being reduced to awkward voiceover reader)?

Undoubtedly the Jimmy Stynes tribute, although it was sad in an uplifting kind of way.

Second saddest moment?

My boss decrying the lack of votes for Melbourne's high-flying Jeremy Howe and then the pair of us realising the great man Warwick Capper received only five votes in 1987.

Say what you will about Warwick's post-footy career as a stop-and-go-man turned porn actor, to kick 103 goals in a year, stand on every full-back's head and get that few votes is a crime against football.

So too, is the continued lack of voting for West Coast key defender and skipper Darren Glass.

In the past two years, Glass has been All-Australian twice (once as captain) and won his third Eagles best-and-fairest award. Nobody would be particularly shocked if he made it four in a couple of weeks' times.

Except, perhaps, for the AFL umpires, who have deemed fit to give Glass just seven votes across his 242-game career and a grand total of zero votes in 2011 and 2012.

To supply a bit of context, the three votes teammate Chris Masten received this year took his career tally to eight from 78 games.

In the round nine spanking of Fremantle, where you'd think Glass marking just about every second-half kick into the Dockers forward line might almost have attracted some umpire attention, the votes went to two midfielders (Matt Rosa and Luke Shuey) and a creative defender (Shannon Hurn).

Speaking of the Dockers, Glass could probably have a post-season consoling drink with Fremantle's potential best-and-fairest (and All-Australian) centre half-back Luke McPharlin.

McPharlin's most consistent and outstanding AFL season also brought him donuts from the umps. Thank goodness for those swingman days alternating between defence and attack, which have allowed McPharlin to rack up 14 career votes.

People can say that the Brownlow Medal is a midfielder's award. And, since Scott Wynd's win in 1992, that's exactly what it has been.

But the ruckmen and forwards can also pluck away at the world's smallest violin and cry me a river  - because the performances of Buddy Franklin (12 votes this year, 20 each in 2011 and 2008), Dean Cox (18 votes in 2011) and Aaron Sandilands (20 votes in 2010) say they are at least being given some sort of moderate chance at winning.

Defenders?

Well Watson's 30 votes on Monday night were almost half what teammate Dustin Fletcher (63 votes) has accumulated in 20 seasons and only one fewer than Matthew Scarlett's total across 284 games.

You could, quite fairly, ask why I care so much and point out that defenders are recognised by All-Australian jumpers and club champion awards.

But the Brownlow should recognise the best player in the competition (and the three best players in each game), not just those most noticed by a bunch of blokes in yellow at ground level, who already have their hands full inflicting the latest holding-the-ball interpretations.

Some thoughts on how to fix this (without losing the entertainment of a round-by-round count):

Change the voting to 5-4-3-2-1
Would, you might imagine, at least allow defenders to get some two or one votes. But if Glass receives, say, seven votes for a season while next year's Watson gets 55, have we really made any progress? Probably not. Moving right along then.

A combined voting system
What if umpire votes were pooled with votes from each coach, who would only be allowed to vote for opposing players? Sure, you could suggest coaches might be biased but who says umpires aren't (Greg Williams' 44-possession, no-vote game anyone?)? I'd be tempted to try and include a media voting element but, you know us, we'd leak like a sieve. Not the worst idea, if I may say so myself.

Independent advice
My personal favourite idea. A match "commissioner", who observes from an elevated position, is appointed to each game. At the end of the match, after the on-field adrenalin has faded, this bloke (or sheila!) goes down, meets with the umpires and, after a period of discussion, they cast 3-2-1 votes by committee. Two provisos: Bruce Doulll gets a gig (maybe not so independent but bound to help defenders) and Adrian Anderson is banned from applying for a job.

A backman's strike
It's bad enough that key defenders have to rely on their midfield teammates putting on enough pressure to restrict the quality of opposition delivery to a forward line; even worse when the little blighters steal all the votes. With that in mind, I propose a strike – not on-field but on Brownlow night. If the umps keep refusing to shell out for a measly few votes, then the backman's union should get together and refuse to attend footy's supposed night-of-nights.

After all, the entire All-Australian backline polled just eight combined votes last night.

And I'd imagine even free beer can start to taste pretty stale when you sit there for five hours knowing your name isn't going to be read out.