Tuesday, 24 September 2013

My Brownlow wrap up

It's Grand Final week and I am counting down to Saturday! I'm really looking forward to this Grand Final. For those that care about who I think will win, I'm tipping the Purple Haze to win their first flag. If they apply three quarters of the amount of pressure they applied to Sydney last week, I think they'll be too good for the Hawks.
Footy is a team sport. Teams and coaches are always talking about getting their structures right and sticking to the game plan. When we attempt to applaud players for their displays of individual brilliance, the responses are usually team focussed and/or complimentary to other players. The standard post-game interview usually goes something like this:

Lingy (with Essendon theme song blaring in the background):  Jobe, you played an absolute ripper. 44 possessions, 11 clearances, 8 tackles and 3 goals. Where does that rank in terms of the best games you've ever played?"

Jobe: "Yeah the boys played well, we stuck to our structures and ground out a good win".

Lingy: "You're in red hot form Jobe. Tonight is the 12th game in a row you've had over 40 possessions. How do you assess your recent run of form?"

Jobe: "Thanks Lingy. We've been training hard and the boys are gelling well on the field".

As humble as it is, and as professional as they are, players rarely talk about themselves (unless your name is Jake King). It's all about the team's performance, how well the back 6 stuck together and the quality of supply the forwards received from the midfield group.

Last night was Brownlow Medal night. The one night the football world gathers to count down and congratulate the best and fairest individual in the sport. It is solely about individuals. In a nail biting conclusion, Gary Ablett won his second medal, to go with the one he won in 2009.

There were three commendable individual efforts worthy of mention at the Brownlow Medal last night.

The first was the way runner-up Joel Selwood conducted himself in defeat. He was a class act and displayed the perfect show of sportsmanship and humility in defeat. He praised his ex-teammate in victory with a genuineness that was completely sincere and smiled and was openly happy for the man that pipped him. It would have been easy to come across as bitter and twisted given he lost by such a close margin and not having won the ultimate individual award before. As much as he ducks his head, I found renewed respect for him last night!

The second memorable effort was Gary Ablett, moments before winning the medal. When the last round of votes were being read out, Ablett needed two to tie Selwood or three to win outright. As the final votes were being read out, Ablett mouthed and gestured for the two votes to be given to him so he and Selwood would jointly win the medal. When he received three votes and won outright, rather than acting in elation at winning the ultimate individual award in football, Ablett was visibly disappointed for Selwood.

There is no doubt Ablett is an all time great. He is potentially the greatest player ever to play the game. He has played in two premierships, has won two Brownlow Medals and 5 MVP awards, has made the All Australian Team 7 years in a row, has won 2 best and fairest awards at Geelong in addition to the best and fairest for the three years he's been at the Gold Coast, was Geelong's leading goal kicker in 2006, the Gold Coast's in 2012 and 2013 and was inducted into Geelong's Hall of Fame in 2009.

His acceptance speech was almost as good as his goal against the Cats earlier this year and provided the third commendable individual effort of the night (I'll get a video of his acceptance speech when I can find it!)

During his acceptance, Ablett voiced his disappointment for Selwood and told the footy world he was hoping Selwood would win it with him.
"I did want the two. I was actually shattered when I got the three because Joel deserves to be up here just as much as I do."
After yet again being compared to his father, who many consider the best footballer to play the game but who interestingly never won a Brownlow, Gary Junior was quick to downplay the ever constant comparison, speaking lovingly of his father and stating that he was the best footballer he had ever seen. He added:

''Now that I've got two (medals) I guess I can give him one.''

In an industry, and on a night, that is often preoccupied with glamour, money, prestige and fame, Ablett and Selwood provided moments of true sportsmanship, camaraderie, respect and graciousness. "True champion" is a term too easily thrown around in football these days. Ablett and Selwood showed what qualities true champions really have. 

Let's hope we see similar traits on Saturday, as well as a cracking game of footy. May the best team win and congratulations to Gary Ablett and Joel Selwood.

All the best,
Dom Meese

*Photo courtesy of www.theroar.com.au


  1. In the final moments you could also hear one of the tip-rats at the Collingwood table drop an f-bomb when the Pies player to get the 2 votes was Pendlebury. Nothing against Swanny, but rapt that my North boys beat them in that last game ensuring Gazza took the chocolates. Swan with two Brownlows and Ablett with one would be a travesty.

  2. Haha yeah I heard that. Worse though would have been Swanny with two Brownlows, Ablett Senior, Wayne Carey and Jason Dunstall with none!