Is the Brownlow ‘fair’?

The Best and FAIREST?


There has been much attention in recent days given to the treatment meted out to Max Gawn’s injured shoulder in the match against Adelaide last week. (I should declare a vested interest here – I am a Melbourne supporter.) This week he is unfit to play. On Channel 9’s Footy Show Kane Cornes was very critical of the behaviour of a number of the Adelaide players, while most of his colleagues defended it, saying it had been going on for years. While I do not doubt this, the fact remains that it is hardly an advertisement for the game, and surely is against its spirit. I also suspect there are some players that are far more likely to engage in this kind of behaviour than others.


This brings me to a thought that has been rolling around in my head for several years. I have dismissed it as ridiculous, but now I am starting to wonder if perhaps it is not such a bad idea. We award the Brownlow Medal to the ‘fairest and best’ player for the season, but the emphasis is very much on the ‘best’. The only qualification for ‘fairest’ is that the player has not been suspended during the season by the tribunal. Even a player who has received a fine for an offence remains eligible to win the Brownlow.


How about if the umpires (or some other authority if this is regarded as too burdensome for the umpires) also award ‘3’, ‘2’ and ‘1’ votes for the ‘fairest’ player in any given game? Total points for both ‘best’ and ‘fairest’ players could then be added together at the Brownlow ceremony, with equal weight given to each. That would certainly reduce the chances of any player who deliberately strove to aggravate the injuries of already injured players from winning football’s greatest individual honour at the end of each season, and may also serve to help eliminate this blight from our game.





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About Stephen Whiteside

Stephen Whiteside is primarily a writer of rhyming verse. He has been writing for over thirty years, and writes for both adults and children. Many of his poems have been published in magazines and anthologies, both in Australia and overseas, or won awards. His collection of rhyming verse for children, "'The Billy That Died With Its Boots On' and Other Australian Verse", was published by Walker Books in May 2014. Stephen performs regularly at folk festivals around the country - mostly in Victoria. He is also a great fan of the Australian poet C. J. Dennis. He is a foundation member of the C. J. Dennis Society, and is closely involved in the organisation of the annual Toolangi C. J. Dennis Poetry Festival. Stephen is a long-suffering Melbourne supporter.

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