West Coast Eagles slump to embarrassing low in Brownlow Medal count

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
The West Coast Eagles look on after their round 23 loss to Geelong.
The West Coast Eagles polled the lowest collective tally at the Brownlow Medal in VFL/AFL history on Sunday evening. (Photo by Morgan Hancock/Getty Images)

The West Coast Eagles will be more impatient than ever to put a disastrous 2022 season behind them after polling the worst total on record as a club in Sunday night's Brownlow Medal count.

In a twist of irony it was West Australian midfielder Patrick Cripps who won the count for Carlton, one vote ahead of Brisbane's Lachie Neale.

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The historically poor team total of votes saw just six Eagles players earn votes in 2022, with their combined tally of just 15 votes a new AFL record.

In comparison, the total was worse than that of the 2013 Demons and GWS Giants, who polled 16 and 17 votes respectively in what was a nadir for both clubs - albeit the Giants' second season in the competition.

Retiring forward Josh Kennedy led the way with the Eagles with six votes from two best on ground performances in rounds 15 and 21, with five others polling.

Incredibly, West Coast's tally was doubled by wooden spooners North Melbourne, who polled a total of 31 votes led by Luke Davies-Uniacke.

Brisbane in 2016 and Fitzroy in 1996 each had a combined tally of just 20 votes, while the GWS Giants polled just 20 votes in their 2012 AFL debut season, as did the Gold Coast Suns in 2019.

Tim Kelly, Jack Darling, Jeremy McGovern, Andrew Gaff and Junior Rioli were the only other Eagles to poll votes.

As a club, the Eagles were outpolled by not just the Brownlow medal frontrunners, but also the likes of Port Adelaide's Karl Amon and Sydney's Luke Parker in a remarkable low.

The 2022 season got off to a poor start for the Eagles, who lost several key players to injury early in the season, as well as a COVID-19 outbreak in the team.

A miserable season followed, punctuated by Rioli requesting a trade to Port Adelaide which has left Eagles officials frustrated after supporting him through a two-year ban for interfering with a doping test.

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Rioli, who is out of contract, met with the Power earlier in September and underwent a medical assessment.

The 27-year-old wants a deal that can give him long-term security after a difficult past 18 months.

Port Adelaide have reportedly offered Rioli a lucrative multi-year contract.

"Hopefully (get to Port Adelaide), we'll see how it goes," Rioli told Nine News.

"I'll see if my manager can look after me and work out a good thing.

"I don't understand all of that, I'm not into the politics side of footy.

"If I could set myself up for the rest of my life, that's all I want to do ... I've been through too much in the last 18 months so I just want to make the most of being in the industry I am now."

Junior Rioli celebrates after kicking a goal for the West Coast Eagles.
West Coast's Junior Rioli has requested a trade to Port Adelaide in a move that has left club officials frustrated. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Rioli served a two-year ban for twice tampering with a urine sample and made a successful return this season, kicking 14.3 from 13 games.

He had to deal with family tragedy in July when his father, Willie Rioli Sr, died from a heart attack aged 50.

Rioli Sr had been helping the talented small forward plan his next career move.

"A lot of this has been weighed up since before I came back to footy," Rioli said.

"It's kind of been planned with me and my dad, but it's been a bit slow now that my dad's not here.

"It'll work itself out, but I've got no plans so far, just to go wherever my manager tells me to go."

In August, West Coast coach Adam Simpson said he was keen for Rioli to stay in Western Australia.

The 51-game goal sneak was a key member of the Eagles' 2018 premiership side.

With AAP

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