The Midfielders’ Hairdressers’ Top Teams Medal – Brownlow reports from the chair… almost


“Yes, why deny it?” Those were the words of a Ms London mag poster in the London Tube in 1982.   The answer: ‘I like sex and travel’. Presumably that didn’t include the Malvinas aka the Falklands…

“Yes, indeed… why deny it? “

It is the Midfielders’ medal – we know that. Players in the centre or on the ball, known in ancient history as centremen and rovers …a long list….

It is the top teams’ medal. A few little holes in the AFL commitment to equality, just like the opportunity of players to change clubs after long service….they go to the rich (yes, that matters) clubs, which have a chance of being in the finals, or better. Dew, Lake, dal Santo etc…

Now, the umpires give the top votes to the best players in the winning team. No Bobby Skilton there.

So, what about the hairdressers’ list, and I write this from the position of a degree of follicular challenge, like a kind of Bruce Doull, with aspirations in one direction and realities in the other…and without headband.

Yes, there was, even back in ancient history, Verdun Howell’s curls at St Kilda(although he only got up decades later after a review), and John Schultz’s Germanic (?) blonde hair, a ruckman’s medal that one, along with Gary Dempsey and Len Thompson later, and Scott Wynd later, a lot later.

Then the hairdressers’ (or sometimes non-hairdressers’) list starts to grow. There is Platten’s long and very curly. The rise of the Ginger principle (great play about that but it’s different, Dennis the Menace and beyond – was it by Jack Hibberd?) provides a continuing story: Brad Hardie, Michael Voss, Adam Cooney, for a start.

The barbarians are there too (was the word ‘barbe’ for beard in French and some other languages the basis of the Greek word ‘barbarian’ for the non-Greeks, you know those ancient civilised people with democracy and slavery combined? Did Adam Goodes have a beard in one of his Brownlow years?

Some trends were unusual. One was good looks. Juddy perhaps, even without Bec? and her back? The dark good looks of Simon Black, as well as his precise skills, the less tall Mr Darcy of football?  And footy’s poster boy with similar skills and great bravery, Jimmy (formerly James) Bartel, with that hint of designer stubble, where beauty meets ‘barbe’…all too complicated for me…although he adds to the German-originated team of the century

And of course blondes have more Brownlows. Shane Woewodin lost his magic when the dye ran out after his year, 2000, and some would suggest that Jason Akermanis at times just lost it.

And was there a facial variation? Did curly Dipper have the moustache when he won?

In the global era, we find the new phenomenon. The Yul Brynner look, at least it comes without fags, as in the second Chris Judd medal (he won on merits the first time) and perhaps the Gary Ablett medals?

And jumping back and forward to latter day barbarians, was it briefly the tatts’ medal, won by Dane Swan, great footballer, charming interviewee but possibly a sagging canvas….?

So, to 2015.

Goldstein, tall, noticeable but just dark.

Priddis, leader of the curly haired tribe, and breaks out of the centre (the fourth factor, see Judd, after Midfielders, Hairdressers, Top Teams Factors – indeed what are the exact KPIs, can they be measured by GPS or by Champion Data, or by the new intruders, the virtual bookies?).

And Sam Mitchell, nice man, great skills, nasty and focused knees, for the blondes…

And Nat. Nat with hairband. Or without. Nat with wild hair, a kind of Ned (Kelly) the way he plays. And in a winning team. Although there are touches of the Williams-Dipper measures in that way of playing….the best and the toughest…? Nat for the Dalek team, with the coach as wit, except he is one of the few who creates…

And big questions have already arisen, rumours about the big indoor, under lights glitter game – will Nat’s hair be brushed.. or…?

So, tonight? Pizza at the bowls club – does it come blonde, bare or curly?

And on the box, McLachlan curls and softly, softly….will he match the great Toorak thespian’s pregnant pauses….?

My prediction?

Don’t know. Except it won’t be a backman, nor a big forward, although WCE’s Kennedy might be a worthy winner. I wouldn’t mind either Pendlebury or Cotchin getting some recognition but, due to injury perhaps, their years were up and down….

And the Gownlow? Will be less good without the rotisserie rotating the ‘chicks’ (and perhaps that unpc image is appropriate here? Yours umbly….) And will the award go to the ‘show the most girl’ and will the footballer partners declare that ‘she is playing her role’ really well, and has ‘structured up’ according to the plans they’ve ‘put in place’….?

So, the odds are on the hair as well as the skill and endeavour. Nat, who the dinosaur BT likes to call Nate (is he playing for the 49ers as against the 91ers? – was that the year of the WC gold rush?), is a good bet…except I am not a betting man…

Better go and see the hairdresser and get the inside dope….(oops, who mentioned dope?)

* No discussion of either the Be-Nice-to-Umpies factor nor the I-got-fined-by-the-current-tribunal-as-a-joke-factory has been entered into in the writing of this article.


  1. Good stuff Stephen. The only thing that will satisfy me this evening would be the Dangerfield of the interesting facial hair coming second by two votes – oh, what fun!

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