THIS SUNDAY, Football’s night of nights will crown a new champion who will forever be etched into the history books.
It’ll be a Brownlow medal like no other in a season like no other with Lachie Neale from the Brisbane Lions the red-hot favourite at Winx-like odds to take home the medal.
While anyone who has had the honour Charlie home will forever be in Football immortality, we’re acknowledging those who really should have won the medal in this blog.
With this we award the coulda, shoulda, woulda Brownlow Medalists from various years since it was first telecast back in 1970.
Winner – Matthew Priddis, West Coast, 26 votes
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda Winner: Gary Ablett, Gold Coast Suns, 22 votes
With Freo’s Nat Fyfe out of contention due to suspension, all eyes were on the little master to win back to back Brownlow Medals despite suffering a season-ending knee injury in Round 16.
With Gazza being at such short odds during the 2014 season, Brownlow betting was suspended until his injury could be determined.
Had Ablett been able to play a full season, he would have romped it in.
Instead, Eagles ball-magnet Matthew Priddis won the medal with 26 votes despite not making the All-Australian team that season in what many consider to be a Brownlow upset.
Winners – Trent Cotchin (Richmond), Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn) 26 votes
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda Winner: Jobe Watson (Essendon) – 30 votes
Jobe Watson won the medal on the night, but had it revoked in the wake of the Essendon supplements saga, which resulted in the 2012 medals being awarded to Trent Cotchin and Sam Mitchell in late 2016.
If you ask any Essendon supporter, whose knowledge on international sports anti-doping laws is second to none, Jobe is still the 2012 Brownlow medalist in their hearts.
Winner: Chris Judd (Carlton) 30 votes
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda Winner: Dane Swan (Collingwood) – 24 votes
The look on Collingwood president Eddie McGuire’s face said it all as the phrase “C.Judd – 3 Votes” kept on coming-up during the 2010 Brownlow count was nothing short of priceless.
Dane Swan went into the count as a dominant favourite and many consider, except for anyone who supports Carlton, Judd’s 2010 Brownlow surprising.
Swanny would have to settle for the 2011 Brownlow.
Winner – Adam Cooney (Western Bulldogs) – 24 votes
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda Winner – Matthew Richardson (Richmond) – 22 votes
Adam Cooney had a fine football career and winning a Brownlow medal is an amazing achievement.
However, in 2008 everyone in the room and watching at home wanted Richo to win the medal.
At one stage late in the count, Richo was in front but some poor performances in Round 21 and Round 22 of the 2008 season may have cost him even though the umps should have just given the people what they wanted.
Sorry Coons, but Richo is the 2008 people’s Brownlow Medalist. (Or it could have at least been a tie.)
In saying that, Adam Cooney’s 2008 Brownlow speech was one of the greatest of all time and he was pretty bloody good that season.
Winner – Adam Goodes (Sydney) 26 Votes
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda Winner – Scott West (Western Bulldogs) 23 Votes
Scott West holds the record for 175 career votes in 324 games putting him the top 10 Brownlow Medal vote-getters of all time.
There’s only one problem, he never actually won one.
He got within 3 votes in 2006 and 2 votes in 2000, but he just couldn’t get over the line.
Many people (especially Doggies fans) remain stunned and amazed that West did not win a Brownlow.
Winner – Simon Black (Brisbane Lions) – 25 votesCoulda, Shoulda, Woulda Winner – Luke Darcy (Western Bulldogs) – 16 votes
The history of the Brownlow shows that for the good part of a decade, the umpires really didn’t like Western Bulldogs players.
Darcy had won a swag of Media awards and the AFLPA MVP and was a hot favourite going into the count but was comprehensively beaten, finishing equal fourth and losing to Simon Black by 9 votes.
Winner: Shane Woewodin (Melbourne) – 24 votes
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda Winner: Anthony Koutoufides (Carlton) – 19 votes
Ask any Carlton supporter and they’ll tell you that Kouta in the year 2000 was unstoppable.
He won every other individual award possible that season, but it seemed the umpires didn’t take enough notice of how good Kouta was that season.
Instead, Shane Woewodin, who didn’t even get in the All-Australian team, got the medal.
Melbourne traded him to Collingwood two years later.
Winner: Robert Harvey (St.Kilda) – 26 Votes
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda Winner: Chris Grant (Western Bulldogs) – 27 votes*
Yes, Chris Grant got suspended during the 1997 season, which cost him a Brownlow.
However, he was suspended not from being reported by the umpires but being cited individually by then AFL Football Operations manager for an incident in a game against Hawthorn that season.
It appeared the umpires liked him, but the AFL didn’t and it cost Grant a medal.
Winners: Michael Voss (Brisbane), James Hird (Essendon) -21 Votes
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda Winner: Corey McKernan (North Melbourne) – 21 Votes*
In what would have been the first three-way tie in the Brownlow, North’s Corey McKernan was deemed ineligible due to suspension during the year.
It led to a chorus of people calling for the rules to be changed, with many forgetting that the Medal is a best and FAIREST award.
McKernan would go on to play in North Melbourne’s 1996 Premiership side and the players awarded him with a McDonalds Brownlow Medal as part of a Maccas promotion during the AFL’s Centenary season of 1996.
Winner: Paul Kelly (Sydney) – 21 Votes
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda Winner: Wayne Carey (North Melbourne) – 14 Votes
The Duck remains one of the greatest players to ever play the game, but not win a Brownlow.
Going into the count in 1995, Bookmakers at the time had Carey as the favourite at 3/1 ($4.00) but it was clear the umpires didn’t like him polling 14 votes in another dominant season.
The 95 Brownlow was an upset with Swans champion Paul Kelly taking the medal home.
Kelly was at 25/1 ($26.00) in the betting market prior to the count!
Winner: Gavin Wanganeen (Essendon) 18 Votes
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda Winner: Greg Williams (Carlton) – 17 Votes
No one remains more salty about missing out on a Brownlow than Greg “Diesel” Williams.
In Round 10, 1993 Carlton faced Melbourne at Princes Park, Williams got 44 possessions for the Blues but his old nemesis umpire John Russo wasn’t going to give him any love and Diesel got zero votes for the match, which ultimately cost him the Brownlow.
It was reported in 2006 that Williams was considering legal action over the result.
No umpire was able to deny Williams votes the following year and he won the 1994 Brownlow with 30 votes to his name.
Winners: Greg Williams (Sydney), Robert Dipierdomenico (Hawthorn) – 17 Votes
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda Winner: Paul Roos (Fitzroy) – 16 Votes
The Roys had an amazing season in 1986, with champion Paul Roos leading the charge.
However, come Brownlow night many Roys supporters regard Mark Dwyer from the club “stealing” a few votes from Roos that season which would of seen him win outright or be equal with Greg Williams and Dipper, who famously only went to the 1986 Brownlow for the free feed.
Winner: Graham Teasedale (South Melbourne) – 59 Votes*
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda Winner: Kevin Bartlett (Richmond) – 45 Votes*
Ask Kevin Sheedy and he’ll tell you that Graham Teasdale was the worst Brownlow Medalist of all time and that wasn’t for his choice of brown velvet suit.
Sheeds firmly believes his then Richmond teammate KB should have won the Brownlow that year and even said so on an episode of Channel 7’s Talking Footy back in 2002.
*The 1977 Brownlow saw both field umpires award votes on a 3-2-1 basis hence the very high number of votes. This system was in place for the 1976 and 77 Brownlow Medal Counts.
Winner: Keith Greig (North Melbourne) 27 Votes
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda Winner: Kevin Bartlett (Richmond) 22 Votes
Going into the ‘74 Brownlow KB was the raging hot favourite to win.
However, North’s Keith Greig won back to back Brownlow’s, much to the dismay of Richmond Football Club officials who got into a blue with North Melbourne’s delegation at the end of the night over the result.
Ahh, footy in the Seventies…
Winner: Keith Greig (North Melbourne) 27 Votes
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda Winner: Leigh Matthews (Hawthorn) 23 Votes
Despite being judged the greatest footballer of the 20th Century, Leigh Matthews never won a Brownlow.
He won a stack of media awards in the 1973 season, but missed out to North’s Keith Greig who would win the first of his back-to-back medals.