Fair play missing from Brownlow Medal

by Bill Walker

The debate relating to the 2010 Brownlow Medal rages and will continue to do so for a long time. I will be as bold as to say that this will be one of the ‘footy lesions’ that festers and erupts for a long time. This is a big deal and the issue of fair play will ensure that it can not be shredded into the never never by big brother.

Mission control, we have a problem.

While those who have taken football from the people for reasons that only they would understand continue to filddle about with the game like  a child with a Rubix Cube, without any form of accountability the game will continue to decline.

Not the high tythes for television rights or the selective but systematic use of baksheesh in various more palatable forms, that of course does not exist outside international cricket. Those aspects of the game are certainly are not in decline They indeed underpin the economic miracle that is Australian Rules Football at the elite level. It is the spirit of the game that is in decline.

It is not my intention to enter the debate regarding allocation of three, two and one votes for this year’s Brownlow Medal beyond the following observation.

I from time to time write State Wide League reports for Tasmania’s most extensively circulated Sunday paper. I go to the game on my own and introduce my self to the coaches, the ones I have not met, and state my mission and request a comment of two after the game. This approach certainly works. I don’t seek to get the big scoop or sensationalise aspects of the game to enhance my status, I just do the job. The response I get from coaches leads me to believe I am respected for this approach.

I watch the game intensively, take notes, go out to the huddles, watch the game some more and take more notes. It is my role to give three, two and one votes. I take this matter seriously. I don’t have others to provide comments and reel of thousands of stats for this that and any other thing. I just watch the game unfold, closely.

I may discuss certain players with various people from time to time but in the end I make a value judgement based on a simple formula. Who was the most influential player on the ground. It is not always, but sometimes, the biggest possession getter or the flashiest, but the one who had most to do with the final result. If I am unsure I will drop a subtle question to a coach regarding roles played by specific players. I very rarely make mistakes.

The point I make here is I know full well what the process is for giving votes that will be publicly scrutinised through out the State, albeit smaller than Victoria. It is quite an onerous task and therefore I am hesitant to criticise others; it is none of my business. Try it yourself some day.

My concern with the implications of this year’s Brownlow Medal winner is not a matter of allocation of votes, but fair play. The AFL have been caught with their pants down, exposed nationally, have nowhere to hide and it is not a pretty sight. And, it is their own fault.

Everyone saw the elbow to Pavlich’s face. The footy watching nation, the AFL hierarchy, the match review panel and for some reason they deemed it acceptable and did nothing about it. Justice was neither done or seen to be done. Gutless, or worse. I repeat, gutless or worse.

While the rules change at a whim like an administrative epidemic there will always be confusion from week to week. If all the footy world is confused then the umpires are entitled to be as well; especially with the irresponsible micro management from AFL House rather than true delegation, supported by clearly defined and static parameters, to the business unit.

Of course there will be no admission of a stuff-up here. I suspect there will be a clandestine witch hunt, an expendable minnow will be filleted and fried, with slight re-jigging of the process to follow in the hope that it will all go away. But it won’t, simply because Pandora’s Box is open, the trouble is out. Whether you meant to, or not, you created it Andrew. You manage it.

The AFL have made the Brownlow Medal circus, along with all other sacred aspects of the game, a mega media event to get the ratings up, and the cash pouring in so they have nowhere to hide. Further, while they continue to hard sell the punt on all aspects of the game, minute by minute, they leave themselves open to the wrath of those, mostly honest people, who lose either small or substantial sums. Of course they will be grumpy. Look at the fall out from last night. People feel cheated. They laid bets in good faith.

What we have here is an example of what happens when a system gets out of control. The Judd win was possible a very unlikely out come so they were safe. What about Murphy’s Law? This is the result of a domino effect. The system was ok, nowhere near broken but they just had to fix it

Get the cleaners in Andrew. Something stinks.

And to conclude, spare a thought for Juddy, Gazza and ‘snake arms’ Swan. It is not their fault. They are all just innocent bystanders – collateral damage.


  1. Phantom – I thought the brownlow fashion parade went quite well. Who cares about that medal thingy.

  2. You should see me in bling Dips.

  3. Phantom
    Some sobering thoughts after a night of less sobering activity. However, I would suggest that your thoughts on the punter feeling cheated are a little off the mark. When has a losing punter never felt cheated. Sp[orts punting is 10% logic and 90% hope( particualry for ever hopeful Pies supporter who loade up on Tatts). I had the Dogs at the line (+25.5)The after the siren goal brought the margin back to 24 points. The goal meant nothing to the player, it wasnt even shown. So what if he doesnt kick it. It wasnt even shown. Should I feel cheated if he doesnt have a kick. Same with the ’08 GF and the after the siren goal that moved the Cats over the 6 point line costing punter heaps.
    Also “It is not always, but sometimes, the biggest possession getter or the flashiest, but the one who had most to do with the final result”. Isn’t that exactly what the umpires did with Judd. They ignored stats etc and decided that Judd was the most important player in the Carlton wins and that his seagull team mates didnt deserve BoGs in front of him. The Freo match was baffling but he still would have won without it. The Brownlow is what it is. A lottery.

  4. Tony, That’s why I wrote the middle bit. I have no issue with the votes. I wasn’t at the games so I can’t comment.

    My issue is with the “smash the face” interpretation. It was obviously head high contact and the MRP admitted that, but it was ok in their eyes. A bloke is scarred for life and nothing happens and another gets a couple of weeks for jumper punching a tagger with halitosis.

    What they are saying it is ok for some people to split a blokes head open and it is not ok for others to do less.

    I also have no issue with Judd, he’s a champ. I am not even the egg that drips of his chin after one of those nice Lygon Street eggs benedict breakfasts he has. It’s the elbow to the face and the lack of consistency that pisses me off.

    I have no sympathy for punters. It’s the hard sell that I question. While there is a covert association with big telly royalties and on line during match betting there is opportunity for bad habits to develop.

    Tellevision rights that won’t even let us start the game till Mrs Brown has hung out the washing and Mr Jones has finished his half time ablution because they have to get away from the screeching adds are a worry.

  5. Phantom.
    The crosses to the live betting was poor form and a poor advertisement for the games priorities. The inconsistency of the MRP is a huge issue. Problem with Judd is he hit the wrong bloke that night as Ms Phee was deserving of a whack in the chops

  6. I think Phantom has a point (that’s not a comment I usually make). The person I would imagine would feel most cheesed off by the Brownlow inconsistancy is neither Ablett, nor Swan nor even the punters. I wonder how Chris Grant feels. He missed a Brownlow thirteen years ago because Collins effectively overuled three umpires to charge him with a nothing offense, while Judd wins his second Brownlow after committing an offense that would have had most players rubbed out for at least two weeks.

  7. And Corie McKernen for a trip

  8. Thanks Dave, are you feeling ok?

    Your point is good. Do you think the Grant issue could be re-visited and a retrospective Brownlow awarded to him? Might get Androo out of the poo.

    At least Collins was openly seen to interfere, not like the catfish running the show now.

  9. Retrospective righting of AFL/VFL wrongs, Phantom, what a wonderful can of worms that would open. Wayne Harmes could be ruled out of bounds in 1979 and Sheldon’s goal disallowed. Anthony Rocca’s goal could be allowed in 2002 and Hawkins’ disallowed last year (see, I do understand that Collingwood isn’t the only side that gets robbed in Finals)

    In other words I think that we have to leave Pandora’s box firmly closed. As for Ian Collins, yes he did interfere openly. He did a lot of fairly questionable things openly. That may have made him more courageous but it didn’t make his actions any less obnoxious.

  10. Right you are Dave.

    I was at the Harms game and looking along the boundary with an uninterupted view. It was only out by a foot or two.

    Maybe we could have a reality television show on a commercial station. “Right That Wrong”. The AFL could respond to the ‘text in’ response. Good earner for the telcos.

    Andrew could announce the verdict with the thumbs up, or down like the other Caesars.

    By the way. Good luck for Saturday. (Thats not a comment I usually make.)

  11. Pamela Sherpa says

    Judd has a heavy pschological burden to bear now- having the guilts for smashing Pav in the face. But how does he un- become being an AFL/umpires pet?
    Dark, mysterious forces seem to be at work and like the cricket, the credibility of the game will/is being eroded.

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