AFL fans have questioned the decision to appoint Brian Taylor as the chairperson of a four-person panel that will decide the winner of the prestigious Anzac Medal on Tuesday. The player of the match in the traditional Anzac Day clash between Collingwood and Essendon is awarded the Anzac Medal, with Jack Ginnivan of the Magpies winning it last year.
On Monday it was revealed that Taylor will head up a four-person judging panel to decide this year's winner, with Jay Clark of the Herald Sun, Anna Harrington of AAP and Kate McCarthy of Triple M. However fans were quick to question the wisdom of having Taylor on the panel considering his ties to Collingwood.
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Taylor played 97 games for Collingwood between 1985 and 1990, and was accused of showing bias towards his former team while in commentary for Channel 7 earlier this year. One fan wrote on social media on Monday: "BT really? The Pies could lose by 60 points and BT would still vote for a Pies player.
"I don’t barrack for either side and listening to BT commentate on the Pies games this year has been nauseating. If wanting someone from Ch 7 - I would choose Hodge or Bartel."
Another added: “So can they just pick the Collingwood player now?”, while a third wrote: "So it’ll be a Pies player then.”
BT really? The pies could lose by 60 points and BT would still vote for a pies player. I don’t barrack for either side and listening to BT commentate on the pies games this year has been nauseating. If wanting someone from Ch 7 - I would chose Hodge or Bartel
— Annie_D78 (@oggrowngirl) April 24, 2023
Any Essendon representatives seeing there are two Collingwood reps? #AFLPiesDons
— Mike (@The_GameSC) April 24, 2023
So can they just pick the Collingwood player now?
— Buggy (@Jitterry) April 24, 2023
The idea behind a panel is selecting non bias representatives. This is a poor selection as 2 pies ppl are on the panel. Let's hope they vote for the best on the field regardless of which team they play for.
— HC (@heyuovathere) April 24, 2023
What a joke.
— whizz74 (@1honks) April 24, 2023
Wow, that’s a horrible panel.
— Scott Meyers (@scotty_m74) April 24, 2023
Brian Taylor accused of showing bias towards Collingwood
It marks the second time this year that Taylor has been caught in controversy around his former team, with many taking exception to his commentary during Collingwood's clash with Brisbane in round four. Journalist Marc McGowan claimed Taylor was far too biased in regards to the Pies' performance, with the commentator appearing to believe the Magpies were right in the game despite trailing by 38 points at one stage.
“That (Cameron) Rayner goal certainly puts a dampener on the commentary team’s attempts to convince us the Magpies are still a chance tonight," McGowan tweeted. “Can’t we just watch the game without BT (Taylor) telling us every second minute how close Collingwood is to getting back into this. Now they’re doing a survey among them all to decide whether Collingwood believes they can still win.”
Melbourne Demons great Brad Green agreed, tweeting: “Brisbane have played well tonight, not that you would’ve heard from CH 7 commentary. All they talk about is Collingwood. Understand they are a big club, but two sides are playing."
The furore descended even further when McGowan was reportedly bailed up by Taylor's Channel 7 colleague Tom Browne in the change-rooms after Carlton's clash with North Melbourne the following night. According to the Herald Sun, Browne called McGowan a “bogan” and “idiot” and asked him “who are you?”. McGowan reportedly called Browne, whose father Jeff is the president at Collingwood, a "fool'.
At one stage during the game, Taylor commented: “It’s a 38-point margin now, but kick the next two before three-quarter time, Collingwood, that’s all they have to do. It’s not a big target to be back in the game.”
After a goal for the Pies, Taylor said: “A good result for Collingwood. An excellent result would be two more. If they got one it is enough to get into the 20s and send a bit of a shiver up the spine of the Lions.”
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