Throwback Thursday – “Dude, Where’s My Brownlow?”

With all this talk about potential Brownlow winners becoming potential Brownlow losers, it’s time we throwback to the times when that actually happened. OMG – imagine if you’d bet your house on a bloke to win the highest individual honour, you waited all season for it to come to fruition and then he got rubbed out. I’m sure this probably happened to a few people all those years ago, just as it almost has again this year. Whoopsies.

Back in 1996 when North Melbourne were at the top of their game, a young spiky haired Corey McKernan had a breakout season. He polled just enough Brownlow votes to share it with James Hird and Michael Voss, but due to a minor indiscretion that year, it wasn’t to be.

The same thing happened the very next year in a similar breakout season for The Western Bulldogs’ Chris Grant. The 1997 Medal count brought about angsty calls for an overhaul of Brownlow eligibility rules as Grant polled the most votes but was deemed ineligible after being suspended. Statistically 1998 was a better year for Chris, but that year he only polled 11 votes to finish equal 20th.

So for these two big men who have since been referred to as a couple of footy’s unluckiest players, how about we throw some ticker tape over their stats for those 1996/97 seasons.

GAMES PLAYED in their ‘no-Brownlow’ seasons:
Corey McKernan: 24
Chris Grant: 23

SEASON DT AVERAGE (pts):
McKernan: 92
Grant: 88

SEASON HIGH DT SCORE (pts):
McKernan: 138
Grant: 140

McKernan’s 138 was v Melbourne from 23 disposals, 11 marks and 5 goals. He also scored 132 v Adelaide when he kicked 4.5, plus 130 against St Kilda from 28 disposals and 3 goals.

Grant knocked up 140 points in a 30-disposal game against St Kilda and then 137 the next week v Carlton from 27 disposals and 4 goals.

DT SCORES OVER 100:
McKernan: 10 of 24 games
Grant: 7 of 23 games

DT SCORES UNDER 70:
McKernan: 5 of 24
Grant: 6 of 23

BEST STREAK (of 90+ DT pts):
McKernan: 3 games, on 2 occasions
Grant: 5 games

McKernan burst out of the starting blocks by scoring 104, 114, 98 in rounds 1-3, then had a neat run from Round 13 up until the first final, with scores of 89, 110, 89, 130, 138, 100, 89 (again!), 29 (oops), 83, 109 and 128.

Grant’s season really gained momentum in the second half as he finished it off with five great games, two of those being finals, as he scored 103, 100, 101, 104, 94.

BROWNLOW GAMES:
McKernan: 8 of 21 home & away games
Grant: 10 of 21

BROWNLOW VOTES v DT POINTS:

McKernan:

(Total votes: 21)

R1: (3 votes) – 104 pts
R2: (1) – 114
R3: (3) – 98
R5: (3) – 132
R8: (3) – 117
R9: (3) – 81
R16: (3) – 130
R17: (2) – 138

Grant:

(Total votes: 27)

R2: (3 votes) – 82 pts
R4: (3) – 33 – huh?
R6: (3) – 96
R7: (3) – 125
R13: (3) – 140
R14: (3) – 137
R16: (1) – 96
R20: (3) – 103
R21: (3) – 100
R22: (2) – 101

There is probably only one guaranteed certainty, odds-on sure thing and deadset hot tip to come out of all that. It’s the fact that this year’s Brownlow – and everything else in AFL and probably sport in general – places way too much importance on gambling. Now, I’m off to place a bet.

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