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Brownlow Medal

From Academic Kids

The Charles Brownlow Medal is an annual medal awarded by the Australian Football League to the "best and fairest" player of the year. It is named after Charles Brownlow.

After each match, the three field umpires (the ones controlling the game) confer and award 3, 2 and 1 vote to the players they regard as the best, second best and third best in the match respectively. On the awards night, the votes over the 22-round home and away (regular) season are tallied and the eligible player with the highest number of votes is awarded the medal. In the past, ties were decided on a countback system, but nowadays it is possible for multiple medals to be awarded in the event of a tie. In fact, the 2003 season saw a three-way tie.

The integrity of the award is upheld by the tight security and secrecy surrounding the votes. Once the umpires make their decision, the votes are locked away and transported by armoured security vehicles. No one except the three umpires know exactly who has been voted for, and as different umpires vote on different games, no one can be sure of who will win. Unlike most award ceremonies, the votes are not tallied or even opened until they are actually announced on the night, so the secrecy and surprise is maintained until late on the actual night, sometimes not even until the final round votes are announced.

Players who are suspended at some time during the season by the AFL's disclipinary tribunal for serious on-field offences (for instance, punching another player) are ineligible for the award. Suspended players have tallied the highest number of votes for the award on several occasions.

The awards ceremony has become increasingly elaborate, with footballers and their partners gradually becoming more fashion-conscious and this aspect of the night becoming widely reported by gossip columns.

The method of selecting the Brownlow has occasionally come under scrutiny. The Brownlow winners contain a preponderance of midfield players and relatively few "key-position" players, with some of the game's greatest players (for instance, Wayne Carey) never coming close to winning a medal despite their reputation amongst their peers and coaches. Several prominent coaches, including Kevin Sheedy and Leigh Matthews, have publicly criticised the selection process, proposing that coaches or players votes be used instead. The exclusion of suspended players is also debated, but the AFL's desire to promote a good image for the game makes it unlikely that this aspect of the award will change in the near future.

Some bookmakers offer betting on the winner of the Brownlow. A number of well-publicised "plunges" on unlikely winners has led to increasingly elaborate security measures to ensure the Brownlow votes are kept secret until the vote count.

Brownlow Medal Winners

See: List of Brownlow Medal winners

External links

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