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Brownlow quirks and oddities

Date

Emma Quayle and Martin Blake

The infamous 'chicken-wing' incident featuring Chris Judd.

The infamous 'chicken-wing' incident featuring Chris Judd. Photo: Lachlan Cunningham

 

  • It wasn't hard to notice that Chris Judd was playing against North Melbourne in round 16. That was the day the Carlton captain grabbed at Leigh Adams' arm as the North Melbourne midfielder lay face down on the Etihad Stadium turf, briefly dislodging his sore shoulder and creating much talk of 'chicken wings'. Judd was suspended for four matches after a tribunal hearing the next week, but did not let the incident unsettle him: he racked up 36 possessions and kicked three goals in the Blues' loss to the Roos, picking up two votes on his way out.

 

  • It must never be easy for parents forced to watch their sons play against each other. No doubt, Mr and Mrs Swallow went to see Gold Coast play North Melbourne in round five hoping to see both their boys, Andrew and David, do well. They got their wish; North's new captain Andrew collected the three votes in the Roos' 34-point, but little brother David picked up one vote for his 23-possession, one goal, four tackle match.

 

  • Jason Blake starred against Sydney in round six, compiling 31 hitouts and 13 possessions when thrust into the ruck in the absence of Ben McEvoy, Rhys Stanley and anyone else in the St Kilda side who knows how to play there. Surely, the football world decided, he would score his first Brownlow votes in a 12-year career. Um, no.... again, Blake missed out, with teammates Leigh Montagna (25 possessions), Lenny Hayes (27 possessions, five tackles) and David Armitage (29 possessions) picking up the votes. But then, a twist: after 194 games, Blake scored the famous first two votes against Gold Coast in round 10. Or did he? Chief executive Andrew Demetriou mucked up his big moment, calling him James instead of Jason.

 

  • The Brownlow votes, it is said, usually go to the winning team. But Gary Ablett rises above tradition. Ablett’s three-vote efforts in rounds one, two and three came in games in which his Gold Coast team lost by 69 points to Adelaide, 92 points St Kilda and 17 points to Essendon. Ablett also polled three for his record-equalling 53 disposal game against Collingwood in round 10, when the Magpies won by 97 points. There was a debate at the time over Ablett’s game, for his opponent Dale Thomas was adjudged best-afield by most media observers for his 32 disposals and three goals. Ablett, the 2009 winner, polled 24 votes this year to finish sixth.

 

  • If you want to win the Brownlow Medal, don’t be a defender or a forward. The top 10 in the so-called 'Midfielders' Medal' were on-ball players. Of the key forwards, Matthew Pavlich (15) and Lance Franklin (12) polled well, and of the rucks Nic Naitanui (10) was the only prominent player. But the interesting thing was the all-Australian defenders, who polled a grand total of eight votes. Darren Glass, the all-Australian full-back, did not register a vote. Ted Richards, the centre half-back, polled one, as did half-back Grant Birchall. Fremantle’s Luke McPharlin did not bother the scorers, Sean Dempster polled two and Beau Waters four. In round five when Sydney toppled Hawthorn at Launceston, Richards kept Franklin goalless. He did not extract a vote for that game.

 

39 comments

  • "Fremantle’s Luke McFarline did not bother the scorers"

    Sorry but isn't it Luke McPharlin?

    Commenter
    Alex
    Date and time
    September 25, 2012, 12:01PM
    • Of course, thanks for pointing it out, correction has been made.

      Commenter
      Editor
      Date and time
      September 25, 2012, 12:47PM
    • Of course, thanks for pointing it out, correction has been made.

      Commenter
      Editor
      Date and time
      September 25, 2012, 12:47PM
    • @Editor
      Why do you keep repeating yourself?

      Why do you keep repeating yourself?

      Lol!

      Commenter
      Good to be King
      Location
      Ivory tower
      Date and time
      September 25, 2012, 3:58PM
  • "If you want to win the Brownlow Medal, don’t be a defender or a forward" - true, but this oft-repeated claim can be either a recognition of reality, or a sooky, sourpuss whinge.

    Here is an interpretation, alternative to the anti-umpire one usually propounded: perhaps the main reason mid-fielders win so many Brownlows is that they are, in fact, the best players, that, if they were, say, 10% less talented or less able, they would not be mid-fielders.

    And one more point: if, say, the AFLPA's MVP, which has been going for three decades, were really challenging the Brownlow's prestige in the minds of the football public, wouldn't it have already supplanted the League's traditional honour? Wouldn't the Brownlow have gone the way of the McClelland Trophy?

    PS: I am against fiddling with the (essence of the) Brownlow, but am somewhat open to the suggestion that the Coleman Medal should extend to the true end of the premiership season.

    Commenter
    40 Degrees S
    Date and time
    September 25, 2012, 12:07PM
    • All previous winners of the Brownlow Medal receive an automatic invitation to the award year after year, even after they finish playing. Jimmy Bartel received permission not to attend due to his ineligibility, just in case you were about to ask why he wasn't there.

      Commenter
      go cats 23
      Date and time
      September 25, 2012, 2:43PM
    • My logic says that mid-fielders and onballers win mostly because they are in the play most of the time = noticed by umps, simple. Templeton won a Brownlow from FF one year, ddint he?

      Commenter
      kingart57
      Date and time
      September 25, 2012, 4:28PM
    • Well actually, if the MVP got the same coverage as the Brownlow like a three hour live telecast during the week before the Gand Final, the same recognition by the League, and the mothballing of the innately absurd Brownlow, yes, the public would embrace it fully.

      What an odd assertion that the best players are midfielders and all the others are a tier below. Does that mean that Gary Ablett could play at full back, or Chris Judd at full forward because, by this reasoning, they're better players than, say Matthew Scarlett or Lance Franklin. Or, in his day, Wayne Carey. Really?! And the ruckmen - they don't rate either above the midfield stars. Dane Swan could fill in for Darren Jolly perhaps? Kerr for Cox?

      The idea that the umpires are the most appropriate officials to determine the best players in a game has been glaringly wrong for decades but the traditionalists can't see past it and injustices have been perpetrated yearly.

      And to disqualify a player from eligibility for a single indiscretion during the year is an idea whose time long ago expired. Deduct a point for every week suspended maybe, but complete exclusion for a whole year's work is a manifestly disproportionate.

      It's so obvious that to have a player judged by his peers to have been the most valuable in the competition is by far the real determinant of which individual truly had the most impact on the game for the season. Umpires have way too much to deal with to see the nuance and subtleties that other players experience intimately.

      Commenter
      DJS
      Date and time
      September 25, 2012, 6:53PM
    • A key forward or backman is taller/bigger than a midfielder and could not play primarily in the midfield. To say that the players are not in the midfield because they are not good enough is a stupid comment. You could say they are only midfielders because they are too short to be key position players using your logic.

      Commenter
      Tim
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      September 25, 2012, 11:24PM
    • In the continuing discussion comparing and contrasting mid-fielders and positional players, Tim's [September 25, 2012, 11:24PM] point "A key forward or backman is taller/bigger than a midfielder and could not play primarily in the midfield"is a valuable addition.

      Positional defenders and forwards, especially full forwards (e.g., Pluggger Lockett) and fullbacks (e.g., Dustin Fletcher), are by their own physiques precluded from being able to have the whole range of skills of mid-fielders (which is definitely not to diss the specific skills they do have).

      Isn't this point reinforced by the tendency among coaches to want more "generic" players in these positions, often summed up by the term "dinosaur"?

      And what do we find, today's full / key forwards such as Lance Franklin, adding to their skills range to counteract that tendency, and makes themselves more versatile.

      Commenter
      40 Degrees S
      Date and time
      September 26, 2012, 12:17PM

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