Contributed by: Wesley Hull Tuesday, September 27 2016 @ 12:47 pm ACST
Whilst he didn’t defeat eventual winner, Geelong’s Patrick Dangerfield, Mason Cox, Collingwood’s American recruit, created his own history on Brownlow Medal night. With his single vote this year, Cox became the first American player to poll a vote in the prestigious award.
Cox polled his vote in Collingwood’s Round 8 clash against the Brisbane Lions. His individual performance of 9 possessions, 3 marks, 11 hit-outs, 4 goals and 2 behinds for the day clearly caught the attention of the match umpires as they awarded him one vote for his efforts.
By statistics and match impact this was Cox’s finest game, though he did also play 6 games where he kicked 2 goals in each. He played 10 games for Collingwood in his debut season, kicking 17 goals as a key forward and back up ruckman.
He did not win the “International Brownlow” – the highest votes polled by an international player or player who came to the game from a multiculturally diverse background. This again went to Brisbane Lion, Pearce Hanley. The Irish product polled 3 votes – a best on ground performance in Round 4 against the Gold Coast Suns where his 28 disposals was the highest return of the day for either side.
One player of note to have polled well is Western Bulldog, Jason Johannisen. Born in South Africa in 1992, he did not arrive in Australia until 2000. Just 11 years later, having played school and club footy, Johannisen was rookie drafted to the ‘Dogs and will play in their Grand Final team on Saturday when the Western Bulldogs play in their first Grand Final since 1961 and are seeking their first flag since 1954.
Johannisen polled 10 votes in just four games, with two best afield performances. He also missed 9 matches mid-season after having torn a hamstring. One wonders what his performance might have been with a full season.
Johannisen considers himself Australian, but is proud of his South African heritage and is one of the AFL’s Multicultural Ambassadors. See Johannisen Has Ambassadorial Qualities For South Africa
Another piece of trivia unearthed on the night is that current Adelaide Crows coach Don Pyke was born in Bloomington, Illinois. Pyke, however, does not consider himself American as his parents were in Illinois for his father’s teaching at Illinois State University.
This leaves Mason Cox as the highest ever Brownlow Medal vote-getter from the United States Of America. He has now raised the bar off the ground for others to jump.