The day after Adam Goodes won his second Brownlow, revelling in his new role as a ruckman-sized wingman, the papers carried the usual shots of footballer girlfriends in nice frocks, and also the perplexing story of Greg “Diesel” Williams trying to legally claim a third Brownlow.

For those who came in late, Williams was a slow but creative centreman for Sydney and Carlton; a brilliant self-trained player with a lateral football brain who revolutionized the handball as a weapon, feeding long, looping handballs out of heavy traffic to teammates in the clear. He was awarded the Brownlow in 1986 and 1994, but now he’s complaining that he didn’t win the medal in 1993, pointing to a Round 10 game where he did not receive votes despite having an astonishing 44 possessions.

His lawyers are now apparently preparing a submission to present to the AFL Commission, allegedly carrying testimony from one of the umpires that day who suggested Diesel’s effort was worthy of Brownlow votes, only to be asked by senior umpire John Russo if Williams had made their job any easier? The more junior umpire admitted Williams had been a pr-ck all day, Williams did not receive any votes for the game and lost that year’s Brownlow count by one vote to Gavin Wanganeen. (Russo denies the conversation ever took place.)

But here’s what Williams and his legal team seem to have missed: why wouldn’t the umpires have every right to take into account the behaviour and demeanor of a player in deciding who to give votes to? Yes, 44 touches is a lot to wipe out by surly behaviour but given Williams’ stated animosity towards men in white, the real miracle is that they overcame his mouthing off to hand him two medals.

The Brownlow is, after all, for the best and fairest, and is it so unreasonable to include simple acts like not sledging, arguing and insulting umpires under the category of “fairest”? Diesel would do well to study the way Goodes carries himself on the field as an example.

Also, if Williams was to somehow win this case, what happens to Wanganeen’s medal? Sorry, mate, we forgot a game back in Round 10, 13 years ago, so can we have it back please?

Give it up, Diesel and try to show more dignity in retirement than you obviously did on the field.

Peter Fray

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