AFL Outsider Brett Geeves on Brownlow 2016 red carpet and Dangerfield’s victory
For so many years it was all about the blokes. Brown velvet suits and a smoke-filled room that meant crawling to the exits.
The modern world has a shifting foundation — and WAGs are part of that.
That red dress from 2004. Invisible tape became a Brownlow thing, as did representing a designer and, when saying designer’s name, pronouncing it in a manner that represented your status. “Designer is from Milan, darling”. The battle lines were drawn and the Rebecca Judd Medal was born.
The award is on offer for the AFL players’ wives and partners, who are openly chasing the fame that a stunning dress might bring. Nadia Bartel is the current Beccy Medallist and showed off her form again this year in a plunging jumpsuit that if I was wearing would look as awkward as a red carpet interview with Andrew Welsh.
What concerns me most about the Brownlow is how much pressure is placed on the girls before a night like this.
There are a number of very attractive girls who commit their lives to modelling as their chosen profession and they are obviously very comfortable in front of the camera and the following critique of their dress and look.
The modern-day love of social media means those who aren’t paid models, have duck faced in front of their phones, added some pretty flowers on their head and have overly whitened their teeth. They are at least semi-prepared.
The best and worst dressed? Expect to see a number of girls chosen to be rated out of 10 in newspapers. And then again in the next edition of high-selling monthly women’s magazines.
What if you haven’t had months to spend in a designer’s den trying on hundreds of outfits to find the one that will show your curves and is the right shade? Instead you’ve had to throw on that old favourite that the kids have used as a sleeping bag for twelve months.
Is the colour in season? You’d want to hope so, because there is every chance you’ll end up being bullied by one million fashionistas from behind their keyboards — as well paid fashion gurus for media outlets who don’t know your story.
Liam Picken’s partner, Annie Nolan, wore pants and a tie. And I love her for it.
“Women have been unfairly judged for their red carpet appearance in the past, so I thought wearing a suit would get me away from the fashion police,” she said.
With the amount of awareness now around mental health, online bullying and the need for positive body messages, I am stunned that this part of the night and the ensuing assessment is handled in the aggressive and judgmental manner of the Royal Sydney Cattle Show.
And then there’s the Brownlow Medal. — the award for the best and fairest midfielder of the season.
The biggest test in this theory was Round 20 when Melbourne beat Hawthorn and Max Gawn got the two votes with Jack Viney collecting the three.
I haven’t seen a more dominant ruck game than the masterclass Gawn put on that day. His 11 marks all seemed to be taken in defence with Hawthorn’s high ball entries completely nullified by the big man’s defensive presence. He shut down their game plan and influenced the scoreboard with a goal, while his 41 hit-outs ensured his midfielders got first use of the footy.
He was the reason Melbourne won that game and it’s disappointing that he was not rewarded with BOG honours. It only furthers the perception that this is an exclusive midfielders award.
To add to the appeal of the evening ... but first, let’s take a break.
The night dragged on so long into the night that last drinks were called at the Sydney function. If you popped outside the venue to take a phone call or grab a kebab, you weren’t allowed back in.
In Melbourne, the Bulldogs were in attendance — and for the first time in 55 years they weren’t blind drunk after too many Luke Beverages, throwing the toilet lollies at each other in the foyer. They attended the night as participants of the Grand Final and as the people’s champs. We wish them well, woof woof.
As the anticipation of the award was building from Round 17, we all had visions of the fast-finishing Dustin Martin acceptance speech, particularly after he mouthed at the camera a special message to his father. At this stage, the count held some interest.
Then a band member of Eskimo Joe came on the screen and the interest was over.
The winner, Patrick Dangerfield, was the shortest priced favourite in the history of the award and was even shorter to spruik love for his teammates and how the award means nothing compared to the pursuit of team glory in his speech. He’s that sort of guy, Patty, and you can be sure that he means it.
His year was remarkable and proof of this was his chalking up the most Brownlow Medal votes ever recorded in a single season. Suggesting that we may have witnessed the most dominant season of any player in the game.
From Round 1 against Hawthorn, where he gathered 40-plus possessions, took pack marks in the forward line — but missed a number of easy shots in front of goal — his dominance didn’t taper off. He owned every game he played and you feel that as Geelong get better at supporting him through the midfield, his efficiency and ability to impact games will only improve.
Scary times for the competition.
So as the night ended and we celebrate the year of Danger, 16 teams headed to Warnie’s bar for dancing, whining about the teams in the GF and the potential of some dress malfunctions that will no doubt make a confidential piece.