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Friday, October 23 2020 @ 07:12 am ACDT

International “Brownlow” Tie Between Dog & Tiger

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For the past few years we have been looking at the player of an international background who has polled the most Brownlow Medal votes and awarding them the “title” of winning the International Brownlow. This year, Richmond’s Mabior Chol and Western Bulldog Jason Johannisen polled a vote each to take the “award”.

Last year, Johannisen tied with Sydney’s Aliir Aliir and Collingwood’s Mason Cox. Previous “winners” have included Jim Stynes, Tadgh Kennelly and Pearce Hanley.

Chol, a refugee from Sudan as a child and now at Richmond, polled his vote in the Round 15 clash against St Kilda. That day he enjoyed 16 possessions – 13 kicks and 3 handballs – as well as 7 hitouts. But, most telling were his three goals which helped his Tigers to a 33-point win over the Saints. His 2 tackles and 8 contested possessions made it a breakout game for Chol and was recognised by the umpires.

Johannisen had to wait until Round 22 when the umpires, who award the votes for the Brownlow Medal, recognised his contribution. A telling 27 disposals, including 6 score involvements, 4 tackles, 8 contested possessions and 6 rebounds from defensive 50 contributed enormously to the Bulldogs’ 61-point win against fellow finals aspirant, the Greater Western Sydney Giants.

Johannisen qualifies for consideration, being born in South Africa and coming to Australia as an eight-year old where he saw and learned Australian football. He is already a Multicultural Ambassador for the AFL and helps grow the game through that role to kids of South African heritage here in Australia and back in South Africa.

Almost remarkably, Sydney Swan Aliir Aliir was a revelation in 2019, taking on a ruck role with great success when regular Swan ruckmen went down with injury. He played many fine games, most right in front of the umpires, yet did not poll a vote.

Many Irish players had good seasons across clubs, but not enough to poll votes – most content to play their team role well and allow the players around them feed off their work.

The Brownlow Medal was won for the second time by Fremantle Dockers' star, Nat Fyfe on 33 votes. It was his second win after taking the award in 2015 as well. Geelong's Patrick Dangerfield came second on 27 votes whilst Carlton's Patrick Cripps and Brisbane's Lachie Neale came equal third on 26 votes.
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