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Watson wins the 2012 Brownlow medal

 

Source: Instagram

Essendon captain Jobe Watson has taken out the 2012 Brownlow medal as the fairest and best player of the AFL home-and-away season.

Watson held off late charges from Tiger Trent Cotchin, Hawk Sam Mitchell and Magpie Dane Swan to claim the medal, after beginning the count in blistering form, registering votes in 12 of the Bombers’ first 13 matches.

The Bombers’ skipper finished the night with 30 votes, including six best-on-grounds. His nearest competition was Trent Cotchin, who failed to register a vote until Round 7, but stormed home to end with 26, and Sam Mitchell, who took a bit too long to find form and also finished with 26 votes.

The count began with Gary Ablett registering the highest possible number of votes (nine) from the first three matches of the season, and it looked as if Gazza was in good shape, but his knee injury and some heavy losses to Gold Coast meant he finished in sixth place, with 24 votes.

Dane Swan also looked to be a big threat, despite missing four games throughout the season, finishing equal with Crow midfielder Scott Thompson on 25 votes.

Overall, it was a quality night for all involved. The newly red carpet saw its share of fashion nightmares (see, Brynne Edelsten’s “mirror ball/Barbie/Black Swan outfit), but the AFL’s resident fashion guru Rachael Finch seemed pretty happy with the turnout.

It was then onto the big event – with no one clear favourite, just a range of fancied stars, the count promised to be a good one, and it didn’t disappoint.

AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou chugged through the 198 matches worth of votes with few hiccups, bar a slight mispronunciation of Jarrad McVeigh’s surname, a slight giggle when awarding a vote to Richmond excitement machine Robin Nahas and the customary pauses between names once we got to the pointy end of the night.

St Kilda’s Jason Blake also finally broke the record that no player ever wants on their back – after 209 hard-fought matches, Blake finally registered his first Brownlow votes in the Saints’ round 11 clash with the Gold Coast Suns, met with uproarious applause from the St Kilda table.

We were also treated to tributes for late AFL players John McCarthy, and a poignant service in the name of former Brownlow winner Jim Stynes. Jim’s brother Brian struggled to hold back tears as we were given an insight into Jim’s life back in Ireland, and how his family has been touched forever by his legacy.

But in the end, it was the night of Jobe Watson. After he claimed more votes in the Bombers’ round nine match, Watson’s total grew to 17 votes, equalling his father Tim’s best season performance.

Watson and teammate Brent Stanton shot out in front in the first half of the count, but while Stanton soon fell away, Watson continued to amass the votes, and while his latter half of the season (when Essendon began to suffer) was not as explosive as his first half, he had done enough to claim the 2012 Brownlow medal.

With the win, Jobe Watson becomes the first Bomber since his coach James Hird in 1996 to take out the Brownlow. And while his coach and teammates piled praise and support on him, Watson remained humble and stated that there is still one goal that eludes him.

“That feeling I had last night,” Watson said on Tuesday morning, “is something you want to emulate with your teammates and I think only the opportunity to be involved in a premiership would deliver that.”

Watson also refused to acknowledge that his Brownlow win now places him in the same company as other Bomber winners, such as Gavin Wanganeen or James Hird.

“Those guys are both multiple premiership players and that’s something that when you finish your career you want to be known as someone who has played in a premiership.”

 

THE FINAL LEADERBOARD – 2012 BROWNLOW MEDAL

1 – Jobe WATSON [Ess], 30 votes

2 – Trent COTCHIN [Rich], 26 votes

Sam MITCHELL [Haw], 26 votes

4 – Dane SWAN [Coll], 25 votes

Scott THOMPSON [Adel], 25 votes

6 – Gary ABLETT [GCS], 24 votes

7 – Patrick DANGERFIELD [Adel], 23 votes

8 – Dayne BEAMS [Coll], 19 votes

Lenny HAYES [StK], 19 votes

Josh P. KENNEDY [Syd], 19 votes

 

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