Almanac Footy: The Muse is musing on the Brownlow





Well it’s Spring in our fair city and it’s Grand Final week so the smell of fresh cut grass and liniment is in the air, to be replaced shortly by the smell of fresh cut grass and horse dung and the sight of scattered (losing) betting tickets . Melbourne is a good place to be at this time of the year albeit I’m reeling at the resignation of our Premier today . You can form your own views as to why I’m reeling.


Balmy night, so I sipped on an Abbotts longneck, rolled a Capstan ready-rubbed and mused on the media pile on after the Brownlow Medal last night.


Now for those of you unfamiliar with our great game, the Brownlow Medal was struck in 1924 as the award for the fairest and best player over the season as adjudged by the umpire which is now umpires plural given the AFL are of the persuasion that four umpires can be more confusing than a lesser number of umpires. The medal was named after the secretary of the Geelong Football Club Charles Brownlow and the first medal was won by a Geelong player Carji Greaves which leads me to suspect that Geelong and surrounds were swinging electoral seats at the time and some political influence was at play in the background. Thankfully that sort of stuff is a thing of the past.


Now it bemuses me that we seem to have more media covering our great game than we actually have players playing the game. According to these experts, last night the Brownlow Medal was awarded to some bloke from Brisbane named Lachie Neale who according to the ‘experts’ was an unworthy winner and the result was evidence umpires shouldn’t be voting on the umpires’ award. Further, if they were to continue to be allowed to vote on the umpires award they should be aided by statistical analysis guided by and interpreted by experts to help them cast their votes. I am thinking a data analyst from Champion Data with interpretation from hindsight media experts would help get the right result. So it’s the work experience kid with his computer accompanied by luminaries such as David King and Mark Robinson who help the umpires decide. Between the kid explaining why kick-outs constitute a possession, Kingy talking in riddles about defensive pressure and one percenters  and Robbo just talking gibberish whilst spitting and waving his arms, the umpires will be armed with enough information to not make stupid mistakes like award votes to unworthy winners .


I must confess I had to Google this Neale fellow to understand why he was so unworthy. To my surprise this nondescript had previously won the award in 2020 and was narrowly beaten in 2022. This leads me to suspect, given the umpires bias to him, he may well have photos relating to umpires end of season trips and threatens the umpires with taunts such as ‘It’s only one lousy goat but …’


So I listened to the media last night pulling out statistics for every round to demonstrate why someone who didn’t get votes should have and why someone who got votes shouldn’t have. I dearly wanted Saint Marcus of the Bulldogs to win it, but sadly he didn’t and pulling apart statistics round by round isn’t going to change that. Fairly sure Collingwood and Melbourne supporters wanted the same for Nick Daicos and Petracca but the result is on the board  Ironically, the uninformed umpires nailed the top six players who featured in all the awards voted on by ‘independent’ experts but, bugger, they didn’t get them in the order the media and the betting agencies wanted or expected. So let’s pile on like school kids who have lost a game of marbles and demand a change in the rules for an award that is in its 100th year and of course the supporters follow suit.


We have a unique award and that’s why it is the most coveted individual accolade a player can win. Why is it unique? Aside from being in its 100th year it’s voted on by the umpires without external influence. Leave the Brownlow as it is please and long may it throw up a result from time to time which isn’t in sync with the popular opinion guided by self-appointed experts.


Just for the record, I have done some statistically based research today and I have noted Bert Deacon from Carlton won the Brownlow in 1947. Bert beat Harold Bray from St Kilda by two votes [where have all the Berts and Harold gone?]  In Round 7 Bert only managed 5 kicks, 1 handball and 2 oranges at three quarter time for the game against Fitzroy and he was awarded three votes. Harold against South Melbourne in Round 10 has 43 kicks, 22 handballs, 15 marks,  kicked 3 goals and wasn’t awarded a vote. Further research shows Bert’s brother in law was a mate of the umpire who officiated at both games. I have passed this on to Robbo to illustrate why umpires shouldn’t be influenced when deciding their votes for the Brownlow Medal.


Cheers All



Read more musings and some fine memoir from The Muse (Drizzle) HERE



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  1. Love it Muse. As a Croweater I gloried of stories of improbable Magarey Medal winners like “Bubbles” Obst and Ron Benton who struggled to get a mention at their club’s B&F night.
    Blokes who said things like “good decision ump” or nodded knowingly when caught with a handful of opponent’s shorts – or their contents. When there was just one umpire buggered from running from CHB to CHF and back again all game and played “pin the tail on the donkey” to award votes in their post-game exhaustion.
    Like the medal was a wink to the gods. It’s all a game – buggered if I know – the kid just caught my eye. Like the lass in the bar you can’t stop looking at, but know in your heart is decidedly “bad news”.
    Medal winners used to be found at the Royal Show with a handful of kids and fairy floss – disoriented from a whizz around the Mad Mouse – who’s first comment of hearing news of the award was “you’re fkn kidding me”.
    That would be better TV – a real reality show – than the monkeys in suits on Monday night.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    The late Geof Motley didn’t win Port’s B&F in 1964, but no-one would begrudge Motley’s Magarey Medal after his sensational career.

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