Written by AFL Online on 23rd Sep 2008
Despite being the most prestigious award for individual players in the competition, the Brownlow Medal is quickly becoming another boring event and the award itself has less credibility every passing season.
First and foremost – Congratulations to Adam Cooney on winning the Brownlow Medal, there is no doubt he had a great season with the Bulldogs.
But was he the fairest and best in the competition this season? No.
I’ll admit i did have a dip on Ablett to win at reasonable odds hence my disappointment but as a football lover and watcher i have no doubt in my mind that Gary Ablett Jnr was the stand out player in the comp this season and last. I know statistics don’t tell the full story of a player but when you compare the statistics of Ablett and Cooney, then watch the players in action there is no doubt Ablett is a better player and had a better season. Gary had every right to be a little disappointed when he failed to poll votes in the last round and fell two votes short of taking home Charlie.
By now we already know its a midfielder medal and accept it, for a forward to poll votes they have to play a role up the ground or kick bags of 7 goals plus. A defender has to keep a star forward goal-less and still have a big influence creating play our of the backline.
If you’re a ruckman then forget about polling votes completely. Take the All-Australian ruckman Dean Cox for example. Cox averaged over 22 disposals & 26 hitouts per game and only managed to poll 3 votes despite clearly being West Coasts best player this season. In the Eagles round 16 lose to the Lions Cox had a game high 36 disposals and completely dominated the ruck with 27 hitouts, not a vote in sight. This happened on a number of occasions throughout the year.
Adam Goodes, where do I start, its been obvious in previous years that the umpires like to give Goodes votes. But polling a total of 21 and coming 4th overall this season is a joke. 9 out 10 Swans supporters will tell you the same thing, the one who doesn’t would be the stereotypical Swans fan who turns up to games and claps when the Swans score a behind. Out of all the teams its fair to say it would be hardest to poll votes when you play Geelong, for starters they only lost one game all season and on top of that they have a long list of gun players. In round 5 the Swans went down to Geelong by 42 points, Goodes polled two votes with the amazing figures of 14 disposals, no goals & only 5 hitouts. 15 Cats and 11 Swans equalled or had more disposals than Goodes. Explains itself.
In most cases the umpires call it as they see it, I don’t have a problem with that. But in modern day football where the umpires have become to precious that they have not only resorted to award free kicks and 50 metre penalties for swearing but they sunk so low they gave away a 50m penalty this season for a player who pointed at an umpire, what a joke. This is likely to be under the instruction of the AFL but the umpires are penalising the best players in the game for incidents like these. Swearing and sledging does not take anything away from the ‘fairest’ aspect of the medal. If the umpires want to continue penalising players for such minor incidents then the Brownlow will not remain the most prestigious award for much longer.
Moving past the farce that is the medal count…
Thankfully in Melbourne the count was shown live however footy fans in Western Australia and Queensland had to watch an extremely delayed telecast. I hope those who stayed up to watch it in the early hours of the morning to watch it in Queensland didn’t watch Channel 10’s late news program that revealed the winner before the count had been aired.
It all started badly when Kate Ceberano who is well past her used by date performed a poor cover of ‘Let me entertain you’ trying her best to get the crowd involved and failing.
Between all the ads the vote count finally got under way but viewers across Australia were left confused when the CEO of the AFL was reading out the wrong votes. You wouldn’t think it would be hard to pickup the right envelop for the first round and read out the votes correctly. This was a major blunder that really made the night look unprofessional and second class. The CEO would have felt mighty embarrassed when a room full of footballers were laughing at the mistake he made.
I think I speak for most people when I say its always good to hear a feel good story about community football and the people that devote there lives to community football but the Brownlow Medal is not the right time to acknowledge these people, its a time to celebrate the year that these individuals had on the field. Save the community stuff for the pre-season or the rising star award ceremony.
At the end of the count we obviously saw the look of disappointment on Abletts face, which i think is fair enough considering he has been favourite to win the medal two years running only to fall short both times. The expectation on him to win a Brownlow Medal now is huge and there’s no wonder he had high hopes of winning it when he was almost universally recognised as the best player in the competition by the media and after already winning the MVP selected by his peers.
I thought it was ridiculous that they set him up for an interview midway through the count showing footage of him as a 14 year old. They guy has so much expectation on his shoulders not to mention he’s playing in a Grand Final on Saturday, its the last thing he needed.
It was bad enough when the AFL enforced a black tie dress code or players would be refused entry but now it appears as if they are cracking down on what players do once they’re inside. In previous years players of all clubs would muck around a bit whenever the camera was at their table, we even heard of games where they had to drink whenever they got on camera. This year none of that happened and it really took away a lot of the entertainment from the night from a home viewers point of view.
That just about wraps up my rant on the most boring Brownlow count in recent years. Next year hopefully the AFL will make it more entertaining for the home viewer, because I can’t see them changing the voting system any time soon.