- AFL umpires in the spotlight after Brownlow Medal
- Footy fans & ex-stars queried how some players polled so well
- Former umpire explained how officials ‘voted blind’
An ex-AFL umpire has declared this year’s Brownlow Medal was voted with ‘full integrity compliance’ after the league cracked down on umpires having access to player statistics.
The development follows many footy fans and former greats of the game questioning many decisions from umpires this season which resulted in Brisbane Lions star Lachie Neale winning the Brownlow for the second time in his career.
The umpire in question stated game day officials don’t have access to their phones and are ‘voting blind’ in a bid not to influenced by popular statistical websites such as Champion Data.
‘There were only a handful of games in the past that would have been done without using stats or phones,’ the former official told the Herald Sun.
‘In the past if we were still unsure, then someone would look at their phone. It was done either openly or sneakily.
An ex-AFL umpire (not pictured) has declared this year’s Brownlow Medal was voted with ‘full integrity compliance’ after the league cracked down on umpires having access to player statistics
The development follows many footy fans and former greats of the game questioning many 3-2-1 player rulings from umpires this season (pictured, 2023 Brownlow Medal winner Lachie Neale)
‘But they are obviously handing their phones in now and the AFL are a lot stricter.
‘They don’t have access to stats and are going in blind. The 2023 Brownlow would be the first in recent history that was done with full integrity compliance.’
Meanwhile, outgoing AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has declared ‘there’s no way’ Brownlow Medal voting should be taken away from the umpires – despite the criticism that erupted following Neale’s boilover victory.
The Brisbane midfielder missed selection for the All-Australian team, but flew under the radar to poll ahead of Western Bulldogs veteran Marcus Bontempelli and Collingwood young gun Nick Daicos.
McLachlan said calls to break tradition and strip umpires of their voting power were ‘extremely misguided.’
The AFL chief executive, who will depart the role after the grand final, conceded that umpires could benefit from being provided ‘baseline data’ following the game before making their decision.
‘Generally, the best players win, and that’s the beauty of it,’ he told SEN.
Outgoing AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has declared ‘there’s no way’ Brownlow Medal voting should be taken away from the umpires
Charlie Cameron, pictured with wife Caitlin Seeto on the left and Brisbane Lions teammates on the right, was unlucky not to poll three votes in a match where he kicked seven goals
‘It’s an umpires’ vote and that’s absolutely right from my point of view. I don’t know what people want.… the formula works.’
Aussie rules great Leigh Matthews said ‘controversy is part of the Brownlow.’
‘This is what the Brownlow is all about, it’s the umpires’ award,’ Matthews told 3AW.
‘I will say this…. I don’t think four umpires generally get it horribly wrong.’