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As the 2000 AFL season passes the halfway mark and heads towards the finals, talk among footy fans revolves around three questions, the key – Who will take out the Webster Medal ?

1) Who will Essendon defeat in the Grand Final ?

2) Who will take out the Brownlow Medal ?

3) Who will take out the Webster Medal ?

The Webster Medal?! Yes, the Webster Medal.

History

The Webster Medal was struck in 1996 by the Footy Banter Team, a group of witty individuals who congregate to discuss the intricate and/or humorous historical and contemporary aspects of Australian Rules Football.

The Webster Medal honours those individuals in the media who have made a significant contribution to the coverage of Australian Rules Football for all the wrong reasons. Named after the doyen of Australian Rules reporting, Tim Webster of Channel Ten’s “Sports Tonight”, the Webster Medal is awarded to the individual who has committed the most embarrassing Australian Rules gaffe in their coverage of our great sport.

Past winners of the Webster Medal include the inaugural Webster Medallist, Tim Webster (1996), Tim Webster (again in 1997), Tim Webster (for a hatrick in 1998) and Tim Webster (for the double hatrick in 1999).

Although the results of previous years seem to suggest otherwise, the Webster Medal is anything but a one horse (or should that be “talking horse”?) race.

Over the years, Tim has had fierce competition from David Fordham (his unceremonious exit from “Sportsworld” was a loss to Webster Medal fans the world over), Garry “Wilko” Wilkinson (Sydneysiders will long remember his affection for “Slugger” Lockett), and from Timmy’s “Sports Tonight” understudies, Billy Woods and Matty White.

This year’s field is bigger and better than ever…

Obviously the generous draft concessions granted to Sports Tonight have borne fruit this year, as the old master Timmy Webster has barely registered a blip on the Webster Medal radar. His reign as the King of the Webster Medal looks increasingly tenuous as a new field of fresh young blood jostles for prominence in front of the Webster Medal judges.

Some of those to have consistently caught the judges’ eyes in season 2000 include Ian Ross from the “Today Show”, former North Melbourne stager John Longmire, the gang from the ABC’s “The Fat” and even the AFL itself!

At the halfway mark of the season, the Footy Banter Team have so far nabbed 50 Websterisms. With plenty of footy left to play, there is no reason why we can’t crack the ton this year. Footy Banter Team Founding Father, Arma, is cautiously optimistic that this could be the biggest year for Websterisms yet. In a recent press conference, Arma noted that “Oh look, there’s certainly been a lot of talk about the possibility of a record number of Websters this year, but we’re not getting too excited just yet. It’s a long season, and as we all know, anything can happen in the remaining rounds.”

Now you can dob in a Websterist too

The Footy Banter Team is opening up the Webster Medal 2000 competition to the footy world at large. We invite you to check out the Webster Medal 2000 site and see if you can add to the already impressive list.

Just go to the Footy Banter Team website at http://www.angelfire.com/ok/footybanter/ follow the link to the Webster Medal page and check out the list of entries to date.

If you spot a Websterism yourself, follow the email link to Crullers (the Footy Banter Team’s Webster Medal Curator) and tell the world about it!

And don’t think that you’re being pedantic in picking up the smallest of errors! In 1996, it was a missing hyphen that was the difference between Tim Webster correctly reporting that Nathan Buckley had “re-signed” with Collingwood and incorrectly reporting that Nathan had “resigned” from Collingwood. That errant dash not only saw Timmy go down with one of the worst cases of boot in mouth, but saw him breeze past the field to take out the inaugural Webster Medal.

The Footy Banter Team

Peter Fray

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