They said what?

Matthew Lloyd says Lance Franklin will win the Brownlow Medal this season. Does he really have a chance in what’s become an exclusive award for midfielders?


Does Lance Franklin have a realistic chance at winning the Brownlow Medal in the current voting system? Photo: Phil Hillyard/News Corp Australia

Does Lance Franklin have a realistic chance at winning the Brownlow Medal? Photo: Phil Hillyard/News Corp Australia

Lloyd made the prediction on Footy Classified that Lance Franklin will win the Coleman Medal and Brownlow Medal in 2015.


Fiasco Sports likes the Coleman Medal prediction, but the Brownlow Medal statement just isn’t realistic.


History says the medal is a midfielder’s award and it is even harder to see that changing in an era where the dominant key forwards are slowly vanishing.


Franklin himself (2008) was actually the last forward to kick over 100 goals in a home away season; he didn’t even make the top-five on Brownlow night.


Western Bulldogs midfielder Adam Cooney won the medal.


Last season Franklin recaptured that scintillating form for Sydney and went on a tear from round nine to round 23.


He averaged nearly five goals a game and Sydney rolled through every team except Hawthorn.


As dominant as he was in a team that finished top of the ladder, Franklin still couldn’t come up with a win on Brownlow night.


He polled 22 votes (the highest in history by a Coleman Medal winner) and finished fourth behind the winner, midfielder Matthew Priddis, whose team didn’t even make the finals.


History is not on Franklin’s side for a Brownlow Medal campaign in 2015 either.


In 2009, Nick Riewoldt put together one of the most dynamic seasons by a forward of the decade, averaging enormous numbers across the board on a St Kilda team that won 19 straight games (finished 20-2).


Despite being widely acknowledged as the most dominant player in the game in 2009; he only managed equal ninth in the count, scoring half as many votes as the eventual winner.


When the “best player I’ve ever seen” conversation starts up among elder statesmen of the game, centre half-forward Wayne Carey’s name is always thrown around.


He entered the Brownlow Medal pre-betting as favourite nearly every season through the 90’s but only ever managed one top-four finish in 1993.


Garry Ablett Sr kicked over 100 goals in three straight seasons and only managed a high of 13 votes. Photo: Drew Ryan/Herald Sun

Garry Ablett Sr kicked over 100 goals in three straight seasons and only ever secured a high of 13 votes. Photo: Drew Ryan/Herald Sun

In that same season Gary Ablett Sr put up an absolutely absurd average of seven goals per game and collected just 13 votes.


In fact Ablett Sr kicked over 100 goals for three straight seasons (1993-95) and that year was his highest ever vote tally.


It’s hard to see Lloyd’s predictions coming to fruition; the Brownlow Medal has simply become a midfielder’s award and Franklin’s chances of winning are beyond slim.


Even if Franklin kicks 100 goals this season on a dominant team, history shows it won’t be enough.


Perhaps separate awards (ruckman of the year, defender/forward of the year) could be appropriate additions to the AFL to acknowledge players outside the midfield.


Some changes to the voting system or awards setup need to be made as key forwards, defenders and ruckman will often never get the credit they deserve on the AFL’s biggest awards night.


What do you think – should someone else other than umpires be casting the votes or should the AFL introduce some new awards to acknowledge players other than midfielders?


Written by Jonathan Boyd


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