THE SIXTH and last member of our Brownlow Medal panel, GEOFF POULTER, found his sights set on the left-footers when he chose the Top Medallists of the past 50 years:
TWO left-footers, Ian Stewart and Bob Skilton, head my list of the best 50 Brownlow boys of the past 50 seasons. The next leftie, Simon Black, comes in at number 21 in the ratings.
Stewart just nudges out his fellow triple medallist Skilton. Both would be chosen in every historian’s best 18 with Stewie in the centre and Skilts roving – probably sharing the role with Leigh Matthews.
Not that some of the intervening 18 between Skilton and Black were not proficient on their non-preferred left side e.g. top tenners Malcolm Blight, Greg Williams and Gary Ablett Junior.
My rankings are probably slanted more towards players from the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s. This is probably born out with the selections in the No 11 – 20 bracket.
The 2017 players may have been marked harshly – but, as football pragmatist Leigh Matthews recently stated, you can’t fully assess accurately a player’s total value until he completes a career.
Another observation relates to the order of players in the final 10. No-one wants to end up there but obviously some have to in an exercise like this. It’s unavoidable.
The best consolation I can offer this group revolves around Graham Teasdale’s response to Kevin Sheedy’s criticism of his win quite a while back.
Teasdale, and his supporters, emphasise the point that Teaser had an exceptional season in 1977. Far greater than in any of his other years that were marred by injuries and other factors. The same explanation applies generally to most players in the bottom 10 bracket. They were outstanding in that particular season.
These assessments are made on overall career achievements. It would be a nigh impossible task to rate each year’s individual output.
Naturally the top 10 is an outstanding group with Ablett Junior nudging another dual medallist Chris Judd out of 10th. Tony Lockett, Blight, Michael Voss, Williams, Keith Greig, James Hird and Kevin Murray are among the game’s greats.
Ruckmen were perhaps even more vital in days of yore. Hence the higher than perhaps expected ranking of Gary Dempsey and Len Thompson.
Behind the more-feted Graham Farmer, John Nicholls and Simon Madden, Demps and Thommo are probably the next best ruckmen, Roy Wright and Jack Dyer notwithstanding.
|1||Ian Stewart (St Kilda/Richmond) 1965, 1966, 1971 (Richmond)|
|2||Bob Skilton (South Melbourne) 1959, 1963, 1968|
|3||Tony Lockett (St Kilda/Sydney) 1987|
|4||Malcolm Blight (North Melbourne) 1978|
|5||Michael Voss (Brisbane) 1996|
|6||Greg Williams (Geelong/Sydney/Carlton) 1986, 1994|
|7||Keith Greig (North Melbourne) 1973, 1974|
|8||Kevin Murray (Fitzroy) 1969|
|9||James Hird (Essendon) 1996|
|10||Gary Ablett junior (Geelong/Gold Coast) 2009, 2013|
|11||Chris Judd (West Coast, Carlton) 2004, 2010|
|12||Gary Dempsey (Footscray/North Melbourne) 1975|
|13||Len Thompson (Collingwood/South Melbourne/Fitzroy) 1972|
|14||Bernie Quinlan (Footscray/Fitzroy) 1981|
|15||Robert Harvey (St Kilda) 1997, 1998|
|16||Ross Glendinning (North Melbourne/West Coast) 1983|
|17||Nathan Buckley (Brisbane Bears/Collingwood) 2003|
|18||Peter Bedford (South Melbourne/Carlton) 1970|
|19||Adam Goodes (Sydney) 2003, 2006|
|20||John Platten (Hawthorn) 1987|
|21||Simon Black (Brisbane) 2002|
|22||Jason Akermanis (Brisbane/Western Bulldogs) 2001|
|23||Peter Moore (Collingwood/Melbourne) 1979, 1984|
|24||Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn/West Coast) 2012|
|25||Ben Cousins (West Coast/Richmond) 2005|
|26||Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide/Geelong) 2016|
|27||Graham Moss (Essendon) 1976|
|28||Gerard Healy (Melbourne/Sydney) 1988|
|29||Robert DiPierdomenico (Hawthorn) 1986|
|30||Dane Swan (Collingwood) 2011|
|31||Mark Riciutto (Adelaide) 2003|
|32||Shane Crawford (Hawthorn) 1999|
|33||Gavin Wanganeen (Essendon/Port Adelaide) 1993|
|34||Paul Couch (Geelong) 1989|
|35||Kelvin Templeton (Footscray/Melbourne) 1980|
|36||Paul Kelly (Sydney) 1995|
|37||Ross Smith (St Kilda) 1967|
|38||Nat Fyfe (Fremantle) 2015|
|39||Jimmy Bartel (Geelong) 2007|
|40||Jim Stynes (Melbourne) 1991|
|41||Trent Cotchin (Richmond) 2012|
|42||Barry Round (Footscray/South Melbourne) 1981|
|43||Scott Wynd (Footscray) 1992|
|44||Brad Hardie (Footscray/Brisbane Bears/Collingwood) 1985|
|45||Brian Wilson (Footscray/North Melbourne/Melbourne/St Kilda) 1982|
|46||Graham Teasdale (Richmond/South Melbourne/Collingwood) 1977|
|47||Tony Liberatore (Footscray) 1990|
|48||Adam Cooney (Western Bulldogs/Essendon) 2008|
|49||Mat Priddis (West Coast) 2014|
|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: CHIEF WRITER RON REED unveils the FINAL 50, in order, selected from the combined votes of our six Sportshounds panellists.
Author: Geoff Poulter
GEOFF POULTER, 69, has spent 51 years in sports media. He was the last Melbourne Herald chief football writer. CV: Sports oracle, author, historian, impersonator, raconteur, poet, quiz whiz, philosopher, song-writer, intellectual scholar – and still employable!