Eddie McGuire couldn’t believe Jeremy Howe did not take home Mark of the Year honours at Monday night’s Brownlow Medal count, labelling the result “embarrassing” and saying it “left a stain” on the night.
Howe’s skipper, Scott Pendlebury, was a bit more passive in his aggression on Twitter, claiming Howe’s elevated chest mark was the best he has ever seen or been near.
The problem is, there is only one group of people that this criticism can be accurately directed at, and it is not anyone in a position of authority at AFL House.
The top three marks of the year were separated by a fan vote, and if McGuire wants to argue with the fans, then he should ask the Collingwood faithful why they couldn’t get Howe over the line.
After all, they are the biggest supporter base in the country, so they can’t use sheer weight of numbers as an excuse.
Especially considering North Melbourne’s Majak Daw found a way to attract enough votes to beat Joe Daniher’s similar effort last year, and his club has around half the amount of supporters as the Collingwood juggernaut.
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McGuire reckons it is a joke that mark and goal of the year have been turned into a popularity contest, but the AFL (and I’m sure Eddie himself) say time and time again that the fans are the true custodians of our great game, and they get their say on all the major issues.
Progressive leagues like the NBA and NFL have been using fan votes to decide all-star line-ups and the like for years.
Maybe the Pies’ marketing department has something to answer for, considering they were unable to run a campaign that could convince their plethora of supporters to get out their devices and press a couple of buttons.
It is also a testament to the Essendon fans, who turned out so valiantly all year, despite having every reason to turn their back on a club that has put so many feet wrong in recent years.
They punched above their weight again, rallying behind their two-metre man, who was almost considered less likely to take out MOTY than Patrick Dangerfield was to take out the Brownlow.
Maybe Howe suffered because there were two Collingwood players nominated and their fans couldn’t split them, despite one having double the degree of difficulty?
But instead of going on a tirade directed at no one in particular, maybe red-faced Eddie should look into his own backyard and ask ‘the best supporters in the land’ how they could let the Bombers beat them for a third time in 2017?