Angus Brayshaw and fiancee Danielle Frawley pulled out of attending the Brownlow Medal ceremony on Monday night in another sad post-script to the Brayden Maynard incident. Brayshaw was knocked unconscious in the qualifying final between Melbourne and Collingwood three weeks ago, with Maynard getting off at the AFL tribunal and avoiding suspension.
Brayshaw didn't play in Melbourne's semi-final the following week, with the Demons' season ending in a heartbreaking loss to Carlton. There were fears the knock would force Brayshaw into retirement due to his history of head knocks, but he recently declared that he wants to play on.
He was originally supposed to attend the Brownlow Medal in Melbourne on Monday night with fiancee Danielle. However they were conspicuously absent when the attendees arrived to walk the red carpet.
The official reason for their withdrawal hasn't been revealed, but the Brayshaw and Frawley families have been doing it tough in the wake of the Maynard incident. Danielle is the daughter of late AFL legend Danny Frawley, who died in 2020 after a battle with mental health issues. After his death, Frawley was found to be suffering from severe CTE - a brain disease caused by repeated head injuries.
After Brayshaw's incident with Maynard, Frawley's widow Anita released a heartbreaking statement in which she called for the sport to do more to protect players from head knocks and brain injuries. “The events of the past few days have been extremely traumatising for my family,” she told The Australian.
“We request that we be given privacy to deal with our ongoing trauma, especially during the week of the anniversary of Danny’s death. Discussions about CTE and concussion need to be ongoing and the protection of athletes’ brains has to be sacrosanct. There can be no diversion from this as we, as a family, do not want to see anyone else go through the trauma and pain that has and continues to effect us.”
Lachie Neale wins Brownlow Medal amid controversy
Brisbane star Lachie Neale walked away with his second Brownlow Medal on Monday night, but many were left questioning whether he deserved it. Neale polled 31 votes to win ahead of Marcus Bontempelli (29) and Nick Daicos (28).
Neale, who also won the top gong in 2020, stormed home with three-vote games in the final two rounds. He is the first two-time winner since former Fremantle teammate Nat Fyfe in 2015 and 2019, and just the 16th player to win multiple Brownlow Medals.
But questions are being asked about the voting system after Neale was given three votes by the umpires in Brisbane's round six win over GWS, in a game in which he had just seven kicks and 20 disposals. Josh Kelly had 41 disposals in the game, while Stephen Coniglio had 38 and Charlie Cameron kicked seven goals. Yet the three votes went to Neale, despite him not receiving any coach's votes for the game.
Collingwood fans were also crying foul that Daicos didn't poll any votes in round four and round nine, despite racking up 38 disposals and kicking two goals against Brisbane, before another 42 disposals against GWS. Jason Horne-Francis was also the shock recipient of three votes in a game against Geelong.
Former Port Adelaide and Brisbane player Tom Rockliff wrote on social media: "If one thing has become clear tonight it’s that the Brownlow medal can no longer be done by the umpires..some of these votes are insane. Neale 3 vs Giants was a bit how you going but Horne Francis 3 vs Cats is mind blowing."
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