Swans utility Adam Goodes claimed his second Brownlow Medal on Monday night, foiling local favorite Scott West of the Bulldogs who even in finishing second proved his remarkable consistency - it was the fifth time the Bulldog star had finished in the top four.
But it was Goodes, the affable Sydney star who staked his claim as one of the most durable winners in the history of the medal. His previous win - jointly taking out the award alongside legends Nathan Buckley of Collingwood and the Crow's Mark Ricciuto in 2003 - had been while playing as a ruckman. Now a free wheeling midfielder, Goodes has often played matches on a higher plane than opponents and team mates alike this season, dominating proceedings as a big kid dominates underage games.
Goodes' has few peers in his flexibility to his team - Fitzroy's Bernie Quinlan and Geelong's Gary Ablett won Coleman medals (the goal kicking award) after career's in the midfield are perhaps the closest examples. It could be argued however that changing from a ruck to a midfielder is a bigger transition.
Goodes, 26, is the first indigenous player to win Australian Football's highest individual honour twice, after becoming the second indigenous winner of the honour after Gavin Wanganeen. He also becomes the first multiple winner to play outside of Melbourne, and only the second dual winner after St Kilda's Robert Harvey (1997 - 98) in the AFL era.
Like the Swans season, Goodes got into gear as the season progressed, not claiming any votes until round five but finishing with a flurry (ten votes from a maximum of twelve) in the last four games of the season. Goodes was adjudged best on ground - claiming the maximum three votes - a remarkable six times this season, claiming the lead in the penultimate round of the season.
The Bulldogs Scott West was again unlucky. He led for much of the evening and after recording more possessions than any other player this season, may not get a better chance.
West Coast captain Chris Judd and fellow superstars Brisbane's Jonathan Brown and the Eagles Daniel Kerr also had turns at the lead, although Brown's awesome season stalled with a hip injury in round 13 and Kerr (22 votes) was ineligible due to suspension. Judd's third placing on 21 votes came despite missing three games with injury when on fire in the middle of the season and at 22 years of age might yet jostle in several more Brownlow counts with Goodes.
Some of the finest parts of the lavish AFL night of nights came in the humble acceptance speech made by Goodes, who sent out immediate condolences to West, passionately thanked his team mates for their support, and talked of the joy he gets on putting a smile on the face of his mother. Goodes demonstrated a presence that is already winning him many plaudits in indigenous circles where he is touted as a future leader. He also seemed intent on getting back to business where again he will be opposing Chris Judd, this time on the field in the biggest match of the year.
Article last changed on Wednesday, September 27, 2006 - 5:39 PM EDT