Stewart and Skilton, a perfect pair of Brownlow champs

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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.

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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.

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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.

1Ian Stewart (St Kilda/Richmond) 1965, 1966, 1971 (Richmond)
2Bob Skilton (South Melbourne) 1959, 1963, 1968
3Tony Lockett (St Kilda/Sydney) 1987
4Malcolm Blight (North Melbourne) 1978
5Michael Voss (Brisbane) 1996
6Greg Williams (Geelong/Sydney/Carlton) 1986, 1994
7Keith Greig (North Melbourne) 1973, 1974
8Kevin Murray (Fitzroy) 1969
9James Hird (Essendon) 1996
10Gary Ablett junior (Geelong/Gold Coast) 2009, 2013
11Chris Judd (West Coast, Carlton) 2004, 2010
12Gary Dempsey (Footscray/North Melbourne) 1975
13Len Thompson (Collingwood/South Melbourne/Fitzroy) 1972
14Bernie Quinlan (Footscray/Fitzroy) 1981
15Robert Harvey (St Kilda) 1997, 1998
16Ross Glendinning (North Melbourne/West Coast) 1983 
17Nathan Buckley (Brisbane Bears/Collingwood) 2003 
18Peter Bedford (South Melbourne/Carlton) 1970
19Adam Goodes (Sydney) 2003, 2006
20John Platten (Hawthorn) 1987
21Simon Black (Brisbane) 2002
22Jason Akermanis (Brisbane/Western Bulldogs) 2001
23Peter Moore (Collingwood/Melbourne) 1979, 1984
24Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn/West Coast) 2012
25Ben Cousins (West Coast/Richmond) 2005
26Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide/Geelong) 2016
27Graham Moss (Essendon) 1976
28Gerard Healy (Melbourne/Sydney) 1988
29Robert DiPierdomenico (Hawthorn) 1986
30Dane Swan (Collingwood) 2011
31Mark Riciutto (Adelaide) 2003
32Shane Crawford (Hawthorn) 1999
33Gavin Wanganeen (Essendon/Port Adelaide) 1993
34Paul Couch (Geelong) 1989
35Kelvin Templeton (Footscray/Melbourne) 1980
36Paul Kelly (Sydney) 1995
37 Ross Smith (St Kilda) 1967
38Nat Fyfe (Fremantle) 2015
39Jimmy Bartel (Geelong) 2007
40Jim Stynes (Melbourne) 1991
41Trent Cotchin (Richmond) 2012
42Barry Round (Footscray/South Melbourne) 1981
43Scott Wynd (Footscray) 1992
44Brad Hardie (Footscray/Brisbane Bears/Collingwood) 1985
45Brian Wilson (Footscray/North Melbourne/Melbourne/St Kilda) 1982
46Graham Teasdale (Richmond/South Melbourne/Collingwood) 1977
47Tony Liberatore (Footscray) 1990
48Adam Cooney (Western Bulldogs/Essendon) 2008
49Mat Priddis (West Coast) 2014
50Shane 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!



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