My desperately needed Brownlow reforms for a fairer count

www.theroar.com.au
9 min read
fairly easy
Another year, another comically high number of votes to the winner. Ollie Wines collected a record-equalling 36 votes en route to winning the Brownlow. One might think that he must have played the season to end all seasons, blown all before him off the park and is already the undisputed GOAT, right? Nope. Because Wines […]
Another year, another comically high number of votes to the winner.

Ollie Wines collected a record-equalling 36 votes en route to winning the Brownlow. One might think that he must have played the season to end all seasons, blown all before him off the park and is already the undisputed GOAT, right?

Nope. Because Wines was one of a record four people to chalk up 30-plus votes. Only twice before had two players polled 30-plus votes in the same season – Dane Swan and Sam Mitchell in 2011, and Dustin Martin and Patrick Dangerfield in 2017.

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The VFL switched to a 22-round season in 1970. Excluding the 1976 and 1977 seasons, when the voting was different, the first player to cross 30 votes was Greg Williams in 1994 when he and Peter Matera ran a two-horse race for the Brownlow. Robert Harvey was next when he blew all before him with 32 votes to beat Nathan Buckley by eight. Then Chris Judd got 30 in 2004.

Note the names: Williams, Harvey, Judd. Players who belong in the absolute elite ranks of the game. None of them managed a 36-vote season. None of them even managed a 33-vote season like Marcus Bontempelli. Williams and Judd couldn't even manage to best Clayton Oliver's 31.

You would say it started to get a bit ridiculous in 2011 when Dane Swan – who, to be fair was an excellent footballer – picked up 34 votes. Then Danger got 35, Dusty got 36. Lachie Neale would have slaughtered all records if given a 22-round season. In 17 rounds he still picked up 31 votes. He would have translated that total to 40 in 22-round season.

The pool of players to score any votes in a season is getting smaller each year, as is the number of players to score the full three votes at least once in a season, yet we are seeing a greater number of players ticking 20 votes or more in a campaign.

The votes are being concentrated among fewer and fewer.

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