Former Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has added his voice to the growing calls for the AFL to instil change for the Brownlow Medal.
The count on Monday night attracted widespread controversy after a savage reaction to not only Lachie Neale’s surprise win – but some truly shocking votes in countless other games.
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Neale entered the night fifth on most betting markers, a long way behind the two short-priced favourites, but pulled off the stunning upset with 31 votes to secure his second medal.
Fans, and even players, were continually left baffled throughout proceedings as the umpires awarded votes to players who had minimal impact on some games while stars who delivered standout performances went unrewarded.
Calls for a change to the system have come in thick and fast since Monday’s count, with McGuire proposing a “panel of elders” to determine some of the games biggest awards.
“What I would like to see is a panel of elders. I think we’ve got enough really great former players who get lost to the game,” McGuire said on Nine’s Eddie and Jimmy podcast.
“Now, you don’t have to go all the way back to say Bob Skilton, but why not? Bobby may be a bit old but … let’s get a few of the others that we haven’t seen in a while. People who have gone off and done other businesses and things.
“Get them there, have five or six of them, invite them to the grand final, sit them down, furnish them with the information they need so they’re not just sitting there as someone goes past them with drinks, and do it properly so you get it right.”
The former Pies boss said the league needs to stop handing over voting to members of the media, highlight issues surrounding the Anzac Day Medal.
“We’re now getting people voting on the Anzac Day Medal who are people in the media that I’ve never heard of. We have to make sure that we’ve got a woman and we’ve got this and that,” he said.
“We’ve got women footballers now, okay, we can get them and we can put together a really good panel to select the Anzac Day Medal.
“I think we’re just narrowing in too much, and I wouldn’t have the media necessarily in any of these and I’m a media person.
“I see the media these days where (the organisations) are all managed by player managers. They’re all pushing up their own bloke all the time.
“So, you’ve got all these guys, and I’m not saying they’re jaundiced in their view, but I do hear a lot of people getting talked up in these situations.”
A forensic analysis of Monday’s Brownlow Medal revealed just how far apart the umpires and the best judges in the game are after revelations of not just near misses but 35 massive oversights.
On a staggering 19 occasions this season players were awarded the maximum 10 votes by the coaches for their AFL Coaches Association MVP award yet didn’t receive a single Brownlow vote for the same performance
And on another 16 occasions players received the maximum three Brownlow votes from the umpires but nothing from the coaches that AFL legend Leigh Matthews said was now the “most credible award in football”.
“This is what the Brownlow is all about, it’s the umpires award,” Matthews, arguably the greatest player never to win a Brownlow, told 3AW on Tuesday morning.
“Lachie Neale has been a very good player, he didn’t win any of the other awards, and that’s fine.
“Controversy is part of the Brownlow.
“The most credible award now is the coaches award. They vote 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and they add their votes together. I reckon the coaches are the most credible people. I believe that is the most credible award in football.”