Hawthorn’s Tom Mitchell was crowned the best and fairest in the Australian Football League in 2018, winning the Brownlow Medal.
After moving over to Hawthorn from the Sydney Swans at the end of the 2016 AFL season, Mitchell has evolved his game. He now regularly collects over 40 disposals a game, although most of the possessions are fairly cheap which don’t mean much.
Most would say that his Brownlow Medal is well deserved but if we examine the season further and the requirements, then his honour may not have been rightfully won.
Firstly the requirement of ‘fairest’. Tom Mitchell is no doubt known by many as one of our game’s great elite talents, however the ‘fairest’ requirement is where we may stumble.
In Round 5 of the AFL season, Mitchell’s Hawks took on a flash North Melbourne outfit at Marvel Stadium. In that game, Mitchell struck Kangaroos ruckman high and conceded a free kick. Mitchell should have been suspended.
Over the past few seasons it has appeared that the Match Review Panel and more recently in 2018, Match Review Officer, have become hesitant of charging or suspending the top players.
Whether that has been because they want a big crowd or whether it is so they can still win the Brownlow Medal, I don’t know exactly. What I do know is that the top players have rarely get suspended.
This shows that Tom Mitchell was not the right man for the award on Monday night and that Steele Sidebottom should have won it.
We are in 2018 and the AFL need to change their approach to the elite players in regards to suspensions.
The upcoming season gives them a chance to rectify this. Season 2019 is set to be a landmark year for the league, with various rule changes.
This could be a move that the AFL considers. They need to be harsher on every player and to treat them fairly and equally.