Kane Cornes has questioned why Tom Mitchell didn't receive more votes for the Norm Smith Medal, describing the snub as 'disrespectful' to the Collingwood midfielder. Bobby Hill was the unanimous winner of the prestigious medal for best on ground in the grand final after booting four goals in Collingwood's four-point win over Brisbane.
Hill received the maximum 15 votes from the panel of five judges after he finished with four goals, 18 touches, eight marks and five tackles. Young gun Nick Daicos was the second-best polling Magpie with four votes in just his second game back from a knee injury.
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But speaking on Monday, Port Adelaide 300-gamer Cornes was gobsmacked that Mitchell didn't get more votes. The former Brownlow Medallist had 24 disposals, seven clearances and 13 tackles in an immense display in the midfield, but only received three Norm Smith votes (a two and a one).
"I thought Tom Mitchell was a little disrespected in the Norm Smith medal voting," Cornes said on AFL Trade Radio. "He was outstanding."
Journalist Sarah Olle, who was one of five Norm Smith judges alongside chair Luke Darcy, Eddie Betts, Jude Bolton and Luke Shuey, revealed she didn't vote for Mitchell despite his outstanding display. "Tom Mitchell had an incredible game and I didn't give him any votes. He ended up with three from the panel," Olle said on SEN Radio.
"The other one was Scott Pendlebury, who ended up with one vote. I thought he was sensational in that final term. But at the end of the day, everyone gave Bobby Hill three votes. So the twos and the ones, it's a nice accolade to have five or four or three votes against your name for a Norm Smith. "
Judges voting (3, 2, 1):
Luke Darcy (Chair) – B. Hill, N. Daicos, S. Pendlebury
Eddie Betts – B. Hill, T. Mitchell, K. Coleman
Jude Bolton – B. Hill, K. Coleman, T. Mitchell
Sarah Olle – B.Hill, K.Coleman, J.Crisp
Luke Shuey – B.Hill, N.Daicos, J.Crisp
— AFL House (@AFL_House) September 30, 2023
They won't give it to him, but Tom Mitchell should get the Norm Smith. #AFLGF
— Justin of Earlwood (@JustinOEarlwood) September 30, 2023
I think Bobby was deserving but Mitchell should have been right up there.
— Mick Graham (@VAHSCEO) October 2, 2023
Injury almost derailed Tom Mitchell's premiership dream
Mitchell's performance was all the more remarkable considering he later revealed how a back injury threatened to rule him out of the preliminary final. "I did it actually in the warm-up before the preliminary final," Mitchell told AAP. "I was touch-and-go to take the field in the last minute there, just before that game.
"I pulled up a bit ginger the next morning and had an injection straight after that. That's part of footy. Everyone's carrying little injuries and you've just got to find a way to push through it."
Mitchell tasted premiership glory after moving to Collingwood from Hawthorn in the off-season. He was one of the Magpies' key acqusitions this season, along with Norm Smith winner Hill.
"I just wanted to come in and play my role and play to my strengths," he said. "Moments like right now, you never think anything like this could ever happen, so it's pretty special."
Mitchell was one of only four players - along with Josh Daicos, Isaac Quaynor and Jack Crisp - to feature in every game for the Magpies this season. "Fly (coach Craig McRae) and the coaches were so good at backing me in and saying this is what we want from you," he added. "They had so much confidence in me to do it and I get a lot of belief in myself as well when you've got them in your corner."
Mitchell was drafted by Sydney in 2013 - a year after their last premiership - and played in the Swans' 2016 losing grand final side before moving to Hawthorn from 2017 to 2022. "You still pinch yourself," he said about winning the flag. "Moments like right now, you never think anything like this could ever happen, so it's pretty special."
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