Paul Dalligan gives his NRL 2023 season preview, his thoughts on who will win the Dally M and top try scorer for the season. The panel discuss innovation in racing and whether jockeys and trainers should be able to communicate with each other during the race and whether, North Melbourne coach, Alistair Clarkson should have been fined for his comments to a reporter.
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Weekend musing – the Brownlow medal, Grand Finals in AFL & NRL……
I was pleasantly surprised to listen to Dustin Martin at his Brownlow presentation on Monday night. He came over a lot better than I had envisioned and he seemed like a reasonable bloke who loves his footy. Bruce McAvaney was a little sickening, but he did a good job getting Martin to talk so it worked.
With 36 votes Martin scored exactly the same amount as the entire All Australian back line of Rory Laird (9) votes, Alex Rance (8), Michael Hibberd (7), Sam Docherty (5), Michael Hurley (4) and Jeremy McGovern (3). While I am not suggesting that Martin did not deserve his votes, it is a little hard to accept that these six champion players could only amass 36 votes between them as most of them are big ball winners as well. The forward line did significantly better with a total of 75 votes, but the forward line included Dane Zorko (14) and Robbie Gray (12) who are essentially mid-fielders and Lance Franklin (22) who seems to capture the umpires eye. With five votes it did endorse my view that Eddie Betts was lucky to make the team.
It was also interesting to see that nine of the 18 clubs had two players that secured half or more of their teams votes and at Richmond, Martin almost did that himself with 36 votes out of a team total of 80. As much as it is great to have a Brownlow medalist from your team, from a team perspective it is better to have a spread of vote getters. The two top teams were Adelaide and Sydney who both had 88 votes, but the contrast was that Adelaide’s top four Sloane, M.Crouch, Jacobs & Atkins contributed 51 votes and Sydney’s top four of Kennedy, Franklin, Parker & Hannebery contributed 67 votes with Hannebery only contributing 6 votes. I think the upshot from this was Adelaide had more to handle in trying to control Martin it will than Richmond had trying to control Rory Sloane…and that is how it turned out yesterday. One thing that the Brownlow coverage brought home was how disappointing it is that Jobe Watson is no longer a Brownlow medalist. To see Cotchin & Mitchell lauded as medalists was disappointing whereas I had not thought about it much beforehand.
The Grand Final was a reasonable game and even though I thought Adelaide were the better side going into the game, the Grand Final was played on Richmond’s home ground which, in my view evened out the contest. Richmond were worthy premiers and it says something for a Club that decided to hold fast in the face of great criticism of their 2016 performance. If the Tigers had buckled at the end of last season and sacked Damian Hardwick, I doubt they would have climbed to the heights of premiership glory.
The Melbourne Storm are my fancies in the NRL decider today. They
have had a great season led by Dally M medallist Cameron Smith. North Queensland Cowboys have had a remarkable run to the Grand Final but I believe they will fall short especially as they are without their champion play maker Jonathan Thurston.
Have a great weekend!
Friday musing – AFL, Brownlow Medal, Nat Fyffe, Dally M, Jonathan Thurston, Wayne Bennett
I think everyone was impressed with the interview/acceptance speech from Nathan Fyffe on Monday night when he won the Brownlow medal. In my opinion it was the most impressive, natural post Brownlow performance I have seen. Not only is the guy a natural footballer but he is a natural in front of the camera so you can imagine the media outlets will be lining up for his services and advertisers lining up for him to endorse their products. He is my favourite footballer that doesn’t play for my team and it was great to see him win.
The Brownlow voting seems to have changed over the last ten years. If you think back to 1990, Tony Liberatore and Gavin Wanganeen tied with 18 votes. Going back even further to 1986 Dipper and Greg Williams tied on 17 votes. In the last ten years only Ben Cousins in 2005 scored less than 24 votes (he scored 20) with five players scoring 30 or more. In 2000 Essendon scored the most team votes ever in the Brownlow (116 votes), but James Hird was the highest with only 16 votes so the votes were more evenly spread amongst the players. Today we get star players dominating the voting. The best example of that is Josh Kennedy and Dan Hannebery from the Swans scoring 49 of the Swans 94 votes. That is more than fifty percent of the Swans votes between two players. It seems to me there is a bit of a “cult of personality” which has impacted upon the umpires and their voting.
I am hoping that the West Coast Eagles salute on Saturday, however, it is hard to see Hawthorn getting beaten.
The Dally M for the NRL was decided on the same night as the Brownlow and Jonathon Thurston won the award for a record fourth time. I am not a big rugby league aficionado, but that is a remarkable performance and now that the Storm has been knocked out of the finals it would be good to see his Cowboys salute in the grand final. Up against him is the Wayne Bennett coached Brisbane Broncos, who I understand has a perfect seven from seven record in Grand Finals. That is a remarkable statistic in its own right.
Have a great long weekend!