Brownlow votes - how can we improve its validity?

juss

Brownlow Medallist
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I'd do a large consensus MVP award, and have that as the most prestigious award.

The coaches, a wide media selection panel, ex player expert panel, umpires, and exclude the players from this one.

Get them all to vote on their yearly MVP from an entire season perspective, quarterly though the season they vote 1-10. So 10 points for best player down to 1 for 10th, Tally all the results quarterly or at the halfway mark and end of year. with a large selection panel you reduce the effect of bias significantly.

By end or year we have a pretty large tally, but we should have a pretty good result of the majority best player.

We can still have a per game umpire award called the Brownlow, I would just make this new award the more glamorous showpiece one.
 

LordLucifer

Brownlow Medallist
Mar 20, 2002
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I'm against change but if there was to be any sort of alteration, I'd probably lean towards the voting being 5, 4, 3, 2 & 1.

My rationale for that s that it would bring an extra two players per game into the voting so hopefully that would include non-midfielders more.
 

John Who

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 16, 2017
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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
I've had a look at the AFLCA (AFL Coaches Award) and have done a comparison to the Brownlow Award for the respective years.

Champion Player of the Year Award
Awarded annually since 2003. Each week, the senior coach of each AFL club gives five votes to the player they consider to be best on ground in the game in which their team plays, four to the second-best, and so on to one for the fifth-best. The player with the most votes at the end of the year wins. The award has different rules to many "best and fairest" awards, as player suspensions are disregarded. Gary Ablett, Jr. has won the award three times, the most by any player.

Winners
YearAFLCABrownlow
2003Nathan BuckleyRiciutto/Buckley/Goodes
2004Warren TredreaJudd
2005Barry HallCousins
2006Simon GoodwinGoodes
2007Gary Ablett, Jr.Bartel
2008Gary Ablett, Jr.Cooney
2009Gary Ablett, Jr.Ablett, Jr
2010Dane SwanJudd
2011Marc MurphySwan
2012Trent CotchinMitchell/Cotchin
2013Scott PendleburyAblett, Jr
2014Robbie GrayPriddis
2015Dan HanneberyFyfe
2016Patrick DangerfieldDangerfield
2017Dustin MartinMartin
2018Max GawnMitchell
2019Marcus BontempelliFyfe

To me, I think the AFLCA better reflects the best player of the year, compared with the Brownlow. In 2004 and 2005, you can argue that Treadrea and Hall were 2 of the best players (if not THE best player) for Port and Swans respectively. They had a significant hand in their team's premiership. Yet the Brownlow votes went to Judd and Cousins during those 2 years. Looking further at the Brownlow voting, in 2004, Treadrea was ranked 10th, and in 2005, Hall was ranked 5th.

Then in 2014, Gray at Port was arguably the best player of the the season, doing handy jobs at both midfield and forward, and the team was a whisker away from a GF (losing to Hawks by 3 points in a Preliminary Final). Yet Priddis, with more midfield time than Gray, took away the Brownlow medal. Gray ranked 15th in the Brownlow!

And In 2018, Gawn was arguably the most dominant ruckman, and the best player of the season. Yet the Brownlow awarded Mitchell instead. Gawn ranked 4th in the Brownlow.
 

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John Who

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 16, 2017
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I'm against change but if there was to be any sort of alteration, I'd probably lean towards the voting being 5, 4, 3, 2 & 1.

My rationale for that s that it would bring an extra two players per game into the voting so hopefully that would include non-midfielders more.
This is what's done with the AFLCA voting, instead of the Brownlow's 3-2-1.
The only downside I can think of if they implement this change at the Brownlow - it will drag on for too long during the live telecast!
 

Freomaniac

Brownlow Medallist
May 3, 2007
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I'm against change but if there was to be any sort of alteration, I'd probably lean towards the voting being 5, 4, 3, 2 & 1.

My rationale for that s that it would bring an extra two players per game into the voting so hopefully that would include non-midfielders more.
I don't mind that. Brownlow night might be longer with it.

Still..... I am surprised buddy Franklin or Gary Ablett SNR or Wayne Carey never won a Brownlow. Matty Richardson polled well in 2008 despite Richmond not making finals. Matty Pavlich didn't poll as much as I thought in the early part of his career rotating in the middle and forward
 

Freomaniac

Brownlow Medallist
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Because it's BigFooty and we're here to talk about footy stuff?
I had to put this up there. I am surprised you do not bring up all Australian selections. Sam Jacobs was unlucky twice. One of them was 2012 as Todd Goldstein got it. The other year was 2014 or 2015 when Sandilands got it.

I thought Jacobs should of got it in 2014 or 2015
 

AvantGardener

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Mar 13, 2016
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Brownlow whilst steeped in tradition it must be recognised the umpires have a hard enough job umpiring let alone dishing out votes to the correct players.

AFLCA is the most prestigious award it will just take some time to be recognised as that due to tradition of the Brownlow.
 

John Who

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 16, 2017
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Brownlow whilst steeped in tradition it must be recognised the umpires have a hard enough job umpiring let alone dishing out votes to the correct players.

AFLCA is the most prestigious award it will just take some time to be recognised as that due to tradition of the Brownlow.
This is a very good point. It’s actually got me thinking, maybe part of what you’ve stated in your post is relevant to why it has become a “midfield medal”?
With all the new umpire rule changes and new interpretations, in the last 10-20 years, umpires are likely to have to focus more on the umpiring rather than take notice of who is the best player on the ground. Having too much on their plate, might render them now less suitable to be judges of the best player award?
 

Ando727

Norm Smith Medallist
Dec 12, 2009
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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 think one good move would be to have the umpires cast their votes after they've done their post game review. I think that going to vote straight after the game, having had a bunch of midfielders in their face for 2 hours, is not conducive to a broad view of the game. At least if they watched the game again, they would get an idea of what happened in the game overall. Apparently they watch their games to evaluate their own decisions and performance anyway, so might as well get some extra value out of it.
 

AvantGardener

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This is a very good point. It’s actually got me thinking, maybe part of what you’ve stated in your post is relevant to why it has become a “midfield medal”?
With all the new umpire rule changes and new interpretations, in the last 10-20 years, umpires are likely to have to focus more on the umpiring rather than take notice of who is the best player on the ground. Having too much on their plate, might render them now less suitable to be judges of the best player award?
They have never ever been suitable to be the judges held in highest regard.
 

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harrythetiger

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Sep 13, 2015
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Imo it does a pretty good job of finding the best player in the league in any given year. Which is it's only job. It's not supposed to compare bottom 6 players, so don't expect it to do that.
 

Yojimbo

Norm Smith Medallist
Nov 14, 2012
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The Brownlow Medal does not need to be valid, it is clearly not a level playing field. The one change I would
make is to get rid of the "Fairest" component, the obvious example is when Chris Grant won only to be
labelled ineligible because of a pussy suspension only to see Chris Judd win one despite splitting Matthew
Pavlich open like a peach with a back elbow. Derek Kickett won a Sandover Medal despite a hefty suspension
which to me is a massive achievement. No ineligible players and a retrospective medal for Chris Grant not
that I am bias, much.
 

masai

Brownlow Medallist
Jan 18, 2002
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The Brownlow Medal does not need to be valid, it is clearly not a level playing field. The one change I would
make is to get rid of the "Fairest" component, the obvious example is when Chris Grant won only to be
labelled ineligible because of a pussy suspension only to see Chris Judd win one despite splitting Matthew
Pavlich open like a peach with a back elbow. Derek Kickett won a Sandover Medal despite a hefty suspension
which to me is a massive achievement. No ineligible players and a retrospective medal for Chris Grant not
that I am bias, much.
Kickett didn’t win a Sandover.

Thank you Tim “Dagger Man” Gepp.
 

Yojimbo

Norm Smith Medallist
Nov 14, 2012
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Kickett didn’t win a Sandover.

Thank you Tim “Dagger Man” Gepp.
Apologies masai, Kickett polled 46 votes in the Sandover Medal in 1987, which was the most of any player
that season, but was ineligible to win due to a suspension for slapping an opponent. Kickett would have
won the Sandover Medal by a lazy 16 votes had he been eligible. Clearly the "Best" player that season by
a country mile which should not be devalued by a suspension for slapping who knows what the other
player did or said to him. My mistake I thought they did not have a "Fairest" clause and was just going
off distant memory.
 

Back One Out

Brownlow Medallist
Mar 2, 2015
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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?
The Brownlow is fine as it is.

what was your problem with this year’s count? The top vote getters in the coaches award all polled heavily in the Brownlow. There were no surprises. Yet some people STILL complain... Why?

Ever since the umpires have received help with their votes, there has been almost zero controversy regarding the allocation of votes within games. Especially in comparison to the random votes from the 1980’s and 1990’s

So much scrutiny nowadays, yet there is almost no controversy about the votes from 198 games. That’s the most surprising thing, if you ask me. It’s pretty obvious the umps no longer base their votes on their opinion & hunches, but lean heavily on Champion Data and expert opinion from the sidelines.

The Brownlow knockers always lay the blame at the feet of the umpires. It’s just sheer ignorance. The 3-2-1 scoring system will always produce a few vagaries and the occasional surprise winner such as Priddis. Blame the scoring system which treats every game as equal and favours the dominant inside midfielders in a “one man team”.

Midfielders have always dominated the voting. It’s just the nature of the beast. Why focus on the Brownlow? All the awards are dominated by midfielders. There are no fairies... It’s pretty obvious why...

a) they are always in the play
b) there are more mids than forwards or defenders
c) almost all the best players are in the midfield

Jeremy Cameron, Jack Darling, Tom Hawkins and Charlie Cameron had great seasons, but none of them won their club best and fairest - Cameron was the only one to finish in the top 3 - so why would they be expected to poll 20+ votes in the Brownlow?
 
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Linda Lovelace

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Apr 24, 2013
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The only change I would make is to rename it after some modern medallists. Brownlow was honored more for his administrative work than his 4-year playing career in the VFA.

I think calling it the Woewodin-Cooney Medal might give a better indication of its value.
 

Dazb86

Brownlow Medallist
Mar 31, 2008
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The midfielders are the best players in the game and get awarded for it.
 

kranky al

Brownlow Medallist
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Take it off the umpires

It really doesnt register for me the way it is now - it quite literally is a midfielders medal - wayne carey should have a couple round his neck

it literally ignores champion players if they arent midfielders
 

masai

Brownlow Medallist
Jan 18, 2002
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Apologies masai, Kickett polled 46 votes in the Sandover Medal in 1987, which was the most of any player
that season, but was ineligible to win due to a suspension for slapping an opponent. Kickett would have
won the Sandover Medal by a lazy 16 votes had he been eligible. Clearly the "Best" player that season by
a country mile which should not be devalued by a suspension for slapping who knows what the other
player did or said to him. My mistake I thought they did not have a "Fairest" clause and was just going
off distant memory.
The player mentioned, grabbed Kickett by the family jewels.

Kickett made it plain to his opponent, that was not on. Footy supporters agreed with Kickett’s retaliation, Gepp went on to be a “behind the scenes” toecutter.
 

RonnieRaven

Mature age recruit
Jun 12, 2018
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There’s always outliers but overall it’s pretty accurate
The best players are the midfielders
Image if your team had the luxury to have Dangerfield Fyfe or Martin as full time fwds they would kick bags or Judd, Goodes permanent halfbacks the intercept run carry delivery would be a joy to watch
 

tombomb

Club Legend
Sep 8, 2007
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Every award is essentially a midfielders award.

one of the reasons it is so prestigious is because of the unique voting system.

If you took the voting off the umpires, it would just become like every other award and lose all its value.
 

Back One Out

Brownlow Medallist
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I've had a look at the AFLCA (AFL Coaches Award) and have done a comparison to the Brownlow Award for the respective years.

Champion Player of the Year Award
Awarded annually since 2003. Each week, the senior coach of each AFL club gives five votes to the player they consider to be best on ground in the game in which their team plays, four to the second-best, and so on to one for the fifth-best. The player with the most votes at the end of the year wins. The award has different rules to many "best and fairest" awards, as player suspensions are disregarded. Gary Ablett, Jr. has won the award three times, the most by any player.

Winners
YearAFLCABrownlow
2003Nathan BuckleyRiciutto/Buckley/Goodes
2004Warren TredreaJudd
2005Barry HallCousins
2006Simon GoodwinGoodes
2007Gary Ablett, Jr.Bartel
2008Gary Ablett, Jr.Cooney
2009Gary Ablett, Jr.Ablett, Jr
2010Dane SwanJudd
2011Marc MurphySwan
2012Trent CotchinMitchell/Cotchin
2013Scott PendleburyAblett, Jr
2014Robbie GrayPriddis
2015Dan HanneberyFyfe
2016Patrick DangerfieldDangerfield
2017Dustin MartinMartin
2018Max GawnMitchell
2019Marcus BontempelliFyfe
To me, I think the AFLCA better reflects the best player of the year, compared with the Brownlow. In 2004 and 2005, you can argue that Treadrea and Hall were 2 of the best players (if not THE best player) for Port and Swans respectively. They had a significant hand in their team's premiership. Yet the Brownlow votes went to Judd and Cousins during those 2 years. Looking further at the Brownlow voting, in 2004, Treadrea was ranked 10th, and in 2005, Hall was ranked 5th.




Then in 2014, Gray at Port was arguably the best player of the the season, doing handy jobs at both midfield and forward, and the team was a whisker away from a GF (losing to Hawks by 3 points in a Preliminary Final). Yet Priddis, with more midfield time than Gray, took away the Brownlow medal. Gray ranked 15th in the Brownlow!
Pfft

What a load of rubbish.

The recent Brownlow winners have been better than the Coaches pets.

Brownlow winners in blue
AFLCA winners in red

2019 - Fyfe > Bont
2018 - Mitchell > Gawn
2017
2016
2015 - Fyfe > Hannebery
2014 - Gray > Priddis (just... Priddis underrated IMO)
2013 - Ablett > Pendlebury
2012 - Jab Thymosin > Cotchin (Mitchell also > Cotch)
2011 - Swan > Murphy

And In 2018, Gawn was arguably the most dominant ruckman, and the best player of the season. Yet the Brownlow awarded Mitchell instead. Gawn ranked 4th in the Brownlow.
LOL

Tom Mitchell was easily the best player of 2018. He carried an average Hawthorn team to a top four finish. Led the league in uncontested and contested possessions and was also Top 10 in tackles. An absolute workhorse who dominated every week. He won nearly every award there was to win. He polled 28 votes and should've polled 30 or 31.

Gawn had a great year but he was hyped beyond belief by the fawning media. Every other week he was posing for the cameras and featuring in another 2 page feelgood story. The "people's champ"... lol

Ruckman are massively overrated. Just have a look at the last 20 premiership teams. Dean Cox was All Australian in 2006, but he is the only premiership ruckman who was even in the AA discussion.
 
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