Brownlow Medal 2021: Matthew Pavlich, Garry Lyon criticise voting system after Ollie Wines’ win

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Catherine HealeyThe West Australian
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Demons duo Steven May and Kysaiah Pickett watch on at the Brownlow.
Camera IconDemons duo Steven May and Kysaiah Pickett watch on at the Brownlow. Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos

Fremantle club legend Matthew Pavlich has taken aim at the Brownlow Medal voting system, claiming umpires “can’t see it all”.

As Port Adelaide midfielder Ollie Wines was crowned champion for 2021, ahead of Bulldog Marcus Bontempelli and Carlton’s Sam Walsh, Pavlich said the award was now “out of whack”.

“How could there be so many midfielders that got so many votes last night?” he questioned on SEN.

“You talk about Carlton - Sam Walsh got 30 votes, had a great year. The next best, Harry McKay got eight and he won the Coleman Medal.

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“I’m happy the fact that Ollie Wines was a worthy winner… but you look at all the midfielders that win this thing … and it’s out of whack.

“Umpires can’t see it all… they can’t notice the defenders. Unfortunately that’s just the nature of their role and what happens.”

Fellow panellist Garry Lyon agreed, and suggested the AFL’s top defenders were hard done by at the 2021 vote count.

Ollie Wines polled a whopping 36 votes to win the Brownlow Medal.
Camera IconOllie Wines polled a whopping 36 votes to win the Brownlow Medal. Credit: Paul Kane/via AFL Photos

“A defender, for instance, Sam Taylor played on Tom Hawkins on a Friday night. It was one of the great defensive games I’ve seen,” Lyon praised.

“Sam Taylor sliced and diced him. No votes.

“Sam Taylor didn’t get a vote for the whole year. Jacob Weitering got one vote, Alex Keath didn’t get a vote, Steven May got one vote.”

Just two ruckmen, Max Gawn (16) and Brodie Grundy (9), and forward Taylor Walker managed nine votes or more in the Brownlow medal count on Sunday night.

Geelong’s Tom Stewart was the only backman inside the top 50 with eight votes.

Scott Wynd was the last genuine ruckman to win the Brownlow Medal back in 1992, and since then the award has been overrun by midfielders.

Adam Goodes was crowned equal winner back in 2003 while playing as a ruck-midfielder for the Swans, but he and shared winner Nathan Buckley were awarded best on ground just twice in that Brownlow win – the least of any Brownlow medallists.

In contrast, Wines was crowned best on ground eight times in his win on Sunday night.

Harry McKay polled just eight votes, despite winning the Coleman Medal.
Camera IconHarry McKay polled just eight votes, despite winning the Coleman Medal. Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos

AFL great Jason Dunstall has questioned if any player other than a midfielder will win the Brownlow again.

“What does a forward or a defender have to do?” he said on AFL360.

“What sort of season do they have to put together?

“We’ve got to come up with something that recognises the other players.”

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