Kevin Murray was the model Brownlow Medallist

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IT IS SCOT PALMER’S turn to deliver his list of top Brownlow Medallists of the past 50 years. And, the Punchlines presenter pulls no punches in naming the unglamorous but courageous Kevin Murray as his champ of champs:

LIKE Neil Roberts I have always been a conservative when it comes to the Brownlows. St Kilda’s 1958 matinee idol has always sworn he would hand back the treasured medal if the term fairest was dropped from the award’s requirements.

Bob Skilton is very proud of the three medals he scored in 1959, 1963 and 1968 but he doesn’t take a strict stand like Neil on the fairest requirement. That doesn’t mean that Bob was anything less than fair, far from it, and he clearly deserves the introduction he receives whenever he attends a function: “Triple Brownlow Medallist Bob Skilton.”

The game’s highest individual award does carry with it an array of sentiments but for me over the past half century no other player compares with the 333-game, 179cm “giant” Kevin Murray of struggling Fitzroy. His Brownlow win in 1969 came at the same time as his ninth best and fairest for the Roys. It must have hurt being on the losing side in 208 of those games but he never showed it.

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Murray truly loves his medal and has been known to string it around his neck or keep it in a pocket in case some footy fan wants a personal showing. He is admired throughout the game, by players and supporters who respect the tenacity he displayed on the field and his great love for Fitzroy.

The Brisbane Lions (formed from the merger of the Brisbane Bears and struggling Fitzroy) honoured the rugged Murray by naming their best and fairest award the Merrett-Murray Medal. Kevin shares the honour with another rugged customer, Roger Merrett, who played in two premierships at Essendon before moving north and becoming an inspirational captain of the Bears.

There were other more skilled or physically gifted Medallists over the past 50 years, players like full forward Tony Lockett, centremen Ian Stewart and Greg Williams, the freakish Gary Ablett junior or the dashing Dane Swan, but Murray remains at the top of my list. Kevin Murray scored just 19 votes to win his Brownlow but he certainly earned every one.

Here are my Top 50 in order:

1Kevin Murray (Fitzroy) 1969
2Bob Skilton (South Melbourne) 1959, 1963, 1968
3Ian Stewart (St Kilda/Richmond) 1965, 1966, 1971 (Richmond)
4Peter Moore (Collingwood/Melbourne) 1979, 1984
5Greg Williams (Geelong/Sydney/Carlton) 1986, 1994
6Gary Ablett junior (Geelong/Gold Coast) 2009, 2013
7Keith Greig (North Melbourne) 1973, 1974
8Malcolm Blight (North Melbourne) 1978
9Barry Round (Footscray/South Melbourne) 1981
10Bernie Quinlan (Footscray/Fitzroy) 1981
11Len Thompson (Collingwood/South Melbourne/Fitzroy) 1972
12Graham Moss (Essendon) 1976
13Tony Lockett (St Kilda/Sydney) 1987
14Paul Kelly (Sydney) 1995
15James Hird (Essendon) 1996
16Jim Stynes (Melbourne) 1991
17Gavin Wanganeen (Essendon/Port Adelaide) 1993
18Michael Voss (Brisbane) 1996
19Chris Judd (West Coast/Carlton) 2004, 2010
20Dane Swan (Collingwood) 2011
21Simon Black (Brisbane) 2002
22Peter Bedford (South Melbourne/Carlton) 1970
23Robert Harvey (St Kilda) 1997, 1998
24Shane Crawford (Hawthorn) 1999
25Gerard Healy (Melbourne/Sydney) 1988
26Adam Goodes (Sydney) 2003, 2006
27Ben Cousins (West Coast/Richmond) 2005
28Mark Riciutto (Adelaide) 2003
29Nathan Buckley (Brisbane Bears/Collingwood) 2003 
30Scott Wynd (Footscray) 1992
31Kelvin Templeton (Footscray/Melbourne) 1980
32Ross Glendinning (North Melbourne/West Coast) 1983 
33Jason Akermanis (Brisbane/Western Bulldogs) 2001
33Tony Liberatore (Footscray) 1990
35Graham Teasdale (Richmond/South Melbourne/Collingwood) 1977
36 Ross Smith (St Kilda) 1967
37Gary Dempsey (Footscray/North Melbourne) 1975
38Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide/Geelong) 2016
39Nat Fyfe (Fremantle) 2015
40Paul Couch (Geelong) 1989
41Brad Hardie (Footscray/Brisbane Bears/Collingwood) 1985
42John Platten (Hawthorn) 1987
43Robert DiPierdomenico (Hawthorn) 1986
44Brian Wilson (Footscray/North Melbourne/Melbourne/St Kilda) 1982
45Trent Cotchin (Richmond) 2012
46Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn/West Coast) 2012
47Adam Cooney (Western Bulldogs/Essendon) 2008
48Mat Priddis (West Coast) 2014)
49Jimmy Bartel (Geelong) 2007
50Shane Woewodin (Melbourne/Collingwood) 2000

*Where players have played at more than one club the black type indicates where they won their medals.

TOMORROW: The last member of our panel, GEOFF POULTER, passes his verdict.

ON MONDAY: Chief writer RON REED presents the Final Top 50, compiled from the votes of our six panellists.


Author: Scot Palmer

VERY few personalities are as well known in the world of sport as SCOT PALMER. He was a fine sportswriter on The Sun News-Pictorial and a news-breaking Sports Editor on the Sunday Press, Sunday Sun and Sunday Herald Sun. But he was best known for his famous column, Palmer’s Punchlines, which ran for a record 25 years or more (he’s lost count!).



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