Brownlow medal; Stats reveal 20 times umpires missed the best player on the field

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A forensic analysis of the Brownlow medal has revealed just how far apart the umpires and the best judges in the game are after revelations of not just near misses but 37 massive oversights in the wake of Lachie Neale’s victory.

The Brisbane Lions star recorded a surprise two-vote win over Marcus Bontempelli having been the recipient of some shock votes, most notable in Round 6 when he was given three despite a seven-goal effort from teammate Charlie Cameron.

But that oversight was just the top of the iceberg.

On a staggering 19 occasions this season players were awarded the maximum 10 votes by the coaches for their AFL Coaches Association MVP award, yet didn’t receive a single Brownlow vote for the same performance

And on another another 16 occasions players received the maximum three Brownlow votes from the umpires, but nothing from the coaches whose award is growing in stature along with the annual players association MVP.

Neale was part of that club in Round 6.

Port Adelaide’s Zak Butters took out the coaches award in 2023, with Neale in fifth.

Bontempelli won the player’s association MVP, with Butters in third. Neale, who collected his second Brownlow, did not make the top 10 of the award voted by the players, nor was he included in the All-Australian team.

Among other umpiring howlers were three votes given to Port Adelaide youngster Jason Horne-Francis against Geelong in round 14 where he managed just 13 disposals.

The massive missed by the umpires were attacked by several former players on social media, including Collingwood Brownlow medallist Dane Swan.

“The AFL need to record the umpires in the rooms after a game talking about who they are voting for,” Swan tweeted.

“Cause I’d love to know how the f**k they made some of the decisions the made this year. And you’d get full transparency so we know there was no funny business going on.”

Former Brisbane and Port player Tom Rockliff was equally confused about what the umpires, this year with four whistleblowers on the field, were seeing in game.

“If one thing has become clear tonight it’s that the Brownlow medal can no longer be done by the umpires,” Rockliff tweeted.

“Some of these votes are insane.”

Even Neale conceded he was shocked by his win.

“I’m pretty rattled at the moment … I didn’t expect this,” he said after the medal was put around his neck.

“To be among those who have won two, I didn’t expect this.”

Among the other howlers were three votes given to Sydney’s Joel Amartey in Round 2 despite being subbed out just after halftime, and retired Essendon ruckman Andrew Phillips three votes in Gather Round.

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