AFL: Brownlow Medal voting, betting | Investigation | Brendon Goddard

Brendon Goddard has revealed he’s in favour of umpires being stripped of Brownlow Medal voting and expressed his frustration at footballers “not even in the top five players in the competition” winning the game’s highest individual honour.

The St Kilda and Essendon legend has lashed the Brownlow voting system in the wake of the betting controversy that rocked the sport this month.

After suspicious betting was flagged to the AFL by one of its betting partners, prompting an investigation, field umpire Michael Pell was arrested for allegedly leaking votes from 2022 matches.

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“I’ve been for a separate panel going into each game and voting on the 3-2-1, whether that be two or three individuals or even just one person,” Goddard said on Nine’s Sports Sunday.

“So, I think that’ll give a true reflection, at the end of the day, of the best and fairest player. We’ve seen in the past … the odd one or two every three or four years bobbing up from not even in favouritism, not even in the top five players in the competition winning Brownlow Medals.”

Goddard didn’t rattle off any names, but the 2014 victory by West Coast midfielder Matt Priddis left many perplexed.

He claimed the award despite not earning selection in the 2014 All-Australian team, which was picked by greats of the game like Kevin Bartlett, Matthew Richardson, Cameron Ling and Warren Tredrea.

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“We were chatting before, (co-panellist) Chloe (Dalton), about how difficult a job it is for the umpires — not only to umpire the game,” Goddard added.

“There’s so many things going on, (like) rule interpretations changing.

“Then they have to come out of it and vote on the biggest individual award in our sport and vote on who was the best player on that day.

“So, it’s pretty tough, so I think you’ll get a better reflection and a true result of the best player if it’s a separate panel (voting).”

Goddard suggested the AFL could take voting rights away from umpires and set up an independent panel in time for the 2023 season.

“You’d think they’ve been thinking about this for a long time. It’s always been brought up. This is another instance where, unfortunately, out of a poor circumstance and a bad one … it’s been brought up about the umpires,” Goddard said.

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“But this has been talked about for a long time.

“We even talk about it from a players’ point of view.

“The AFL used to come to the footy clubs — they still do, but when I was playing — and discuss how they can improve the game. How do they make it the fairest competition?

“We used to discuss this as players.

“So it’s been talked about it for a long time, so I suggest there’s been a lot of work done and scenarios thrown up.

“So it could be implemented pretty quickly, I would have thought.”

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