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