Brownlow votes - how can we improve its validity?

John Who

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 16, 2017
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I think there's been plenty of threads talking about the Brownlow medal in the modern era is basically = "midfield medal".

How about if we discuss if there were rule changes in place, how can we address it's current flaws/limitations? That is, how do we make the Brownlow Medal to mean what it actually means - "the best player during an AFL season"?

I can start off with an idea:

Voting should be done by umpires AND other sources eg. commentators, coaches, runners etc.
Currently, umpires are doing all the voting. Unfortunately, this often limits them to seeing things that are often around the ball (ie. inside-mids and ruckmen are in their main field of vision for the majority of the game. If we have other sources not onfield, then there would be players that are noticed doing off-the-ball work which could actually be more relevant than on-the-ball-work!

Other suggestions or comments?
 

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adammania9

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Mar 18, 2013
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There’s nothing wrong with the Brownlow. It is what it is - an award decided by the officials of each game. That’s how it’s always been and how it always will be. It is a fun night for both participants and onlookers during Grand Final week.

There’s coaches awards, media awards, club awards etc etc. and this one is the umpire’s award. It’s not the be-all and end-all, it’s just another award.
 

Off Tap

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May 13, 2007
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Take the voting off the umpires as they are biased.

Ever since the umpires blatantly cheated and robbed Greg Williams of his medal, the Brownlow means absolutely nothing to me.

I'm not sure who you'd hand the responsibility over to as most of the media "personalities" are nuffies and I wouldn't want them to decide such an award.

Maybe we should combine the coaches and players awards into 1 and let their peers decide who's the best.
 

John Who

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 16, 2017
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There’s nothing wrong with the Brownlow. It is what it is - an award decided by the officials of each game. That’s how it’s always been and how it always will be. It is a fun night for both participants and onlookers during Grand Final week.

There’s coaches awards, media awards, club awards etc etc. and this one is the umpire’s award. It’s not the be-all and end-all, it’s just another award.
I can accept all that. However, if we can make umpiring rule changes every year or so, then no reason why we can't make additional changes to the Brownlow rules to fit more its intention to award the best player of the year. You can have forwards who dominate and win the Coleman medal, yet hardly show a bleep on the Brownlow voting charts. Then on the other end, defenders can conquer all forwards for the year and be the season's best spoiler, and again, hardly show a bleep on the Brownlow voting charts. It just seems too weighted on the total amount of disposals and/or how near you get to the ball for the most part of the game (ie. midfield medal).
 

sprockets

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Oct 15, 2004
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Take the voting off the umpires as they are biased.

Ever since the umpires blatantly cheated and robbed Greg Williams of his medal, the Brownlow means absolutely nothing to me.

I'm not sure who you'd hand the responsibility over to as most of the media "personalities" are nuffies and I wouldn't want them to decide such an award.

Maybe we should combine the coaches and players awards into 1 and let their peers decide who's the best.
Because coaches and players aren't biased? Leave the Brownlow as it is, the public will decide who they think is the best player in the comp and there will always be varying opinions regardless of 'official' awards.
 

sprockets

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I can accept all that. However, if we can make umpiring rule changes every year or so, then no reason why we can't make additional changes to the Brownlow rules to fit more its intention to award the best player of the year. You can have forwards who dominate and win the Coleman medal, yet hardly show a bleep on the Brownlow voting charts. Then on the other end, defenders can conquer all forwards for the year and be the season's best spoiler, and again, hardly show a bleep on the Brownlow voting charts. It just seems too weighted on the total amount of disposals and/or how near you get to the ball for the most part of the game (ie. midfield medal).
To be fair, centre players are usually the best players in a team anyway.
 

Furn2

Norm Smith Medallist
Sep 27, 2012
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IF you want the genuine best player you need a panel of say 10 experts to watch every game 5 times and give each player a score out of 100 or something but not sure how exciting that would be.

Part of the charm of the Brownlow is it throws up a few upsets and its scoring system is quite random and gives huge rewards for the best player over consistency.

I'vr heard the umps get to look at stats before voting, dont know how true that is but if it is i'd get rid of that.
 

Football Tragic

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Nov 11, 2010
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I think there should be three awards - best midfielder, best backman, best forward depending on the role players predominately play in through the game.
 

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BJK#5

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I think there's been plenty of threads talking about the Brownlow medal in the modern era is basically = "midfield medal".

How about if we discuss if there were rule changes in place, how can we address it's current flaws/limitations? That is, how do we make the Brownlow Medal to mean what it actually means - "the best player during an AFL season"?

I can start off with an idea:

Voting should be done by umpires AND other sources eg. commentators, coaches, runners etc.
Currently, umpires are doing all the voting. Unfortunately, this often limits them to seeing things that are often around the ball (ie. inside-mids and ruckmen are in their main field of vision for the majority of the game. If we have other sources not onfield, then there would be players that are noticed doing off-the-ball work which could actually be more relevant than on-the-ball-work!

Other suggestions or comments?
I always see this but if you look at a lot of the AFL awards it is often won by mid's.

Looking at the coaches award

07, 08, 09 - Ablett

10 - Swan

11 - Murphy

12 - Cotchin

13 - Pendlebury

14 - Gray (playing as a mid)

15 - Hannebery

16 - Dangerfield

17 - Martin

18 - Gawn

19 - Bont

All mid's except Gawn

Players voted MVP you have to go back to 2004 to find a non mid that won the award with names like Ablett, Swan, Judd, Fyfe, Danger, Dusty, Titch and Cripps winning it.

So letting other people get involved in the voting process will most likely not allow other winners as we have seen coaches and players and umpires all seem to come out with somewhat similar results. Most across the board seem to rate the elite midfielders as some of the best players in the game, not just a matter of umpires failing to see who else is performing well.
 

Sirlemsip

All Australian
May 5, 2014
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I think there should be three awards - best midfielder, best backman, best forward depending on the role players predominately play in through the game.
If only there was some way to have experts on the game decide who was the the best Australian player in each position on the field...
I suppose All of the players of that team would be Australian...

What a novel idea.
 

Brett C

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Oct 11, 2014
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I think there's been plenty of threads talking about the Brownlow medal in the modern era is basically = "midfield medal".

How about if we discuss if there were rule changes in place, how can we address it's current flaws/limitations? That is, how do we make the Brownlow Medal to mean what it actually means - "the best player during an AFL season"?

I can start off with an idea:

Voting should be done by umpires AND other sources eg. commentators, coaches, runners etc.
Currently, umpires are doing all the voting. Unfortunately, this often limits them to seeing things that are often around the ball (ie. inside-mids and ruckmen are in their main field of vision for the majority of the game. If we have other sources not onfield, then there would be players that are noticed doing off-the-ball work which could actually be more relevant than on-the-ball-work!

Other suggestions or comments?
Not sure you could have anyone directly involved in a club involved in voting, just too open to bias.

I don't like the idea of commentators/journos getting a vote as you end up with the US problem which involves a narrative around certain players.

I think the umpires should actually re-watch the game and then cast their votes after that.
 

Gone Critical

Moderator
Mar 11, 2007
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AFL Club
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I think there's been plenty of threads talking about the Brownlow medal in the modern era is basically = "midfield medal".

How about if we discuss if there were rule changes in place, how can we address it's current flaws/limitations? That is, how do we make the Brownlow Medal to mean what it actually means - "the best player during an AFL season"?

I can start off with an idea:

Voting should be done by umpires AND other sources eg. commentators, coaches, runners etc.
Currently, umpires are doing all the voting. Unfortunately, this often limits them to seeing things that are often around the ball (ie. inside-mids and ruckmen are in their main field of vision for the majority of the game. If we have other sources not onfield, then there would be players that are noticed doing off-the-ball work which could actually be more relevant than on-the-ball-work!

Other suggestions or comments?
If you analyse this a little more you will find all awards in this day and age are "midfield medals". The Brownlow has prestige, history and independence which makes it the king of all the individual awards in the comp.

For mine the AFLCA and the Brownlow are very similar results wise and thats a good thing given the different groups awarding the votes and the different voting systems. They correlate very well. Both are midfielder awards in the current game because AFL is a midfielders game more than it has ever been. Mids dominate the game like never before so dominate the awards like never before. If you look at each awards top 10 uear by year there are usally 8+ mids in each top 10 and usually 7-9 of the top 10 are top 10 in both awards. They get the same results within a very close range for the style of voting they do

People often put up various vagaries in Brownlow results as reasons why it isnt an accurate award. Thats false for mine, all awards throw up such variations.

Club B&Fs are often seen as a very pure award but I could throw up these facts for consideration. GAS the greatest Cat and contender for GOAT only one one B&F at Geelong (GAJ has 6 B&Fs). Peter Hudson didn't win the B&F the season he kicked 150 goals. Two biggest contenders for GOAT are Matthews and Carey. Matthews a mid 8 B&Fs, Carey a KPF 4 B&Fs. Matthews aslo won in 1971 when Hudson got his 150.

Individual awards all have quirks. Brownlow does have some, so what
 

Smithdogmaddog

Club Legend
Apr 13, 2015
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What it comes down to is it’s much easier to score votes as a midfielder each week than it is for a forward.

A midfielder could have a game where they think they might not even get a vote and they could end up with 3. Whereas a forward could kick a bag of goals but 3 or 4 midfielders may have had just as if not more influential games.

Unless there is a conscious decision to pretty much weight 4 plus goals as guaranteed votes and 5 or 6 very hard not to be 3 or at least 2 it’ll never change due to the inconsistency of output a forward has week to week.
 

maskmcgee

Club Legend
Feb 25, 2017
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You can have forwards who dominate and win the Coleman medal, yet hardly show a bleep on the Brownlow voting charts
Forwards wouldn't score anything if midfielders wern't passing it to them.

Then on the other end, defenders can conquer all forwards for the year and be the season's best spoiler, and again, hardly show a bleep on the Brownlow voting charts.
They shouldn't be doing any spoiling, their midfield should be keeping the ball out of the backline.
 

Football Tragic

Club Legend
Nov 11, 2010
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If only there was some way to have experts on the game decide who was the the best Australian player in each position on the field...
I suppose All of the players of that team would be Australian...

What a novel idea.
I'm assuming you're attempting to be sarcastic, right? That was sarcasm, wasn't it?! :think::laughing:

Anyway, the difference between my concept and the All Australian Team is that you are narrowing it down to the best forward, defender and midfielder rather than the top 6 or 7(if you're including multi-positional players and the bench). Even in the AA team though, it seems selector favour midfielders with midfielders placed in the half forward and back positions when they've never played in those positions for the entirety of their career.

The other idea is to use the Coaches Award as a guide. The coaches seem to be able to award players in multiple positions votes on how they impacted the game rather than how many possessions they received. The 10 vote system may be the answer.

At the moment, the Brownlow is a midfielders award. Perhaps awarding the best back, mid and forward equally will at least force the umpires to focus on and value the others roles on the ground.
 

greatwhiteshark

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 3, 2007
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As soon as the umpires leave the ground they should be separated to do their own individual 3-2-1 with no access to any stats or commentary.
then they get together and hand in the 3 cards with a simple add up to achieve the votes.
they are currently interfered by stats and commentary.
 

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