Everything You Need To Know About The Down Low On The Brownlow
The Grand Final is still five sleeps away but there will be an almighty chorus of barracking and cheers for the fan favourite right around the country tonight.
It’s Brownlow night, known in some circles as the Gownlow, but footy eyes won’t be on the couture but the tall character with a beard.
He is footy’s cult hero. He is Max Gawn.
The Melbourne ruckman measures in at 208cm and has produced an incredible season, rewarded with selection in the All-Australian team.
He’s a strong chance to take home “Charlie” (The highest individual honour in the game named after Charles Brownlow) but there’s a lot going against Big Max.
Forever and a day, the Brownlow has been a midfielders' award. Ruckman have collected the gong in years gone by, even a few goal kicking stars have too, but for the most this one is for the ball winners, those with leather poisoning.
Gawn should poll strongly in a campaign where he consistently gave his midfielders first use of the ball as the Demons notched 14 wins and reached the finals for the first time since 2006.
His competition will come mostly from Hawthorn, you guessed it, midfielder Tom Mitchell, who has produced another stellar year and wins so much of the footy it’s like he’s brought his own ball.
He’s half the size of Gawn and like all players going about their craft in the centre, is eye catching and constantly under the watch of the umpires, those who cast the votes.
Gawn is also much-loved in the footy world because he is a welcomed breath of fresh air.
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Refreshingly honest, funny and up for a laugh, Gawn is a great spokesman for his club and his willingness to appear in the media, both club based and regular radio and television gigs, has been a huge hit over the past few years with his own fans and those from other clubs.
The Brownlow Medal is rich in history, each winner is deserved with an incredible backstory, and the AFL do the whole night so well.
But if Gawn can defy the odds and get up tonight it really would be one of the great moments in the sport.
The storyline reminds me of the first Brownlow I attended in 2008.
Richmond star Matthew Richardson was coming to the end of a great career and had been moved from the goal square up to the wing by coach Terry Wallace, and in the twilight of his playing days was not only rejuvenated but in great form.
Blow me over with a feather, the positional switch resulted in votes! In some of his best seasons as a forward, Richardson never made an impact on the leader board but suddenly he was making an almighty charge in this count. It quickly became the story of the night, the cameras were firmly on Richardson each round, he and his team mates rode the rollercoaster of emotions and as he polled more votes, or missed out, the Crown Palladium cheered or gave a light-hearted boo, with loungerooms around the country glued to the box and also along for the ride.
Richardson fell short and didn’t take home Charlie that night but it remains a case in point and a great yarn.
If Gawn bucks the trend tonight and is victorious it will be a defining moment for footy and ruckmen but a win, too, for the ridgey didge characters of the game. The guys who want to back up their stellar on-field efforts by connecting with the fans and engaging the media just by being themselves.
One thing is for certain, I’ll be lending my voice to chorus and barracking for plenty of “Melbourne…..M.Gawn….Three votes.”