Brownlow Medallist, but not All-Australian?

Could Lachie Neale become the latest member of an undesirably exclusive club?

The 44-man All-Australian squad was released on Monday, with the final team announced last night. Toby Greene was named captain ahead of Marcus Bontempelli, who are both captains of their respective clubs.

Legendary sports statistician Swamp made several great observations about the team, including:

There was a flurry of activity in one of my group chats overnight, discussing who was unlucky to be overlooked and who owes the selection panel a nice Christmas card. One member of the chat raised an interesting question as part of the discussion – whether a Brownlow medal winner has not made the All-Australian team in the year they won the Brownlow. This was raised in the context of Lachie Neale, who did not make the final team despite being one of the Brownlow medal favourites.

Since the All-Australian team was introduced in 1991, only three Brownlow medallists have not made the All-Australian side: Shane Woewodin in 2000, Sam Mitchell in 2012, and Matt Priddis in 2014. Mitchell and Priddis made the AA squads in their respective years, if that’s any consolation (the preliminary squad was introduced in 2007, and therefore doesn’t apply to Woewodin).

You could potentially argue it’s unfair to include Mitchell in that group, given he and Trent Cotchin were awarded the Brownlow retrospectively after Jobe Watson was stripped of his medal. However, both Cotchin and Watson were All-Australian that year. It’s interesting that Watson’s other achievements were not revoked – just the Brownlow medal.

It remains to be seen whether the joys of Neale winning his second Brownlow medal would outweigh the potentially unwanted piece of history that would come with it.

Some other fun takeaways from my research into this:

  • Toby Greene can become the third player to be named All-Australian Captain and win the Brownlow medal in the same year (after Greg Williams in 1994 and Nat Fyfe in 2019)
  • Marcus Bontempelli can become the fifth player to be named All-Australian Vice-Captain and win the Brownlow medal in the same year (after Nathan Buckley in 2003, Ben Cousins in 2005, Gary Ablett in 2013, and Patrick Cripps in 2022)
  • Jordan Dawson can become the third player to be named on the All-Australian bench and win the Brownlow medal in the same year (after Paul Kelly in 1995 and Chris Judd in 2010)

The timeframe of this stat is limited based on what data are freely/easily available and/or accessible. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you spot any errors in what I have presented. As always, apologies to anyone who has already looked at this stat.