Jordan Dawson caught in 'embarrassing' AFL controversy over Showdown medal

Many thought the Adelaide Crows captain wasn't deserving of the gong.

Jordan Dawson, pictured here being awarded the Showdown medal after Adelaide's AFL win over Port.
Jordan Dawson was awarded the Showdown medal after Adelaide's AFL win over Port. Image: Getty

AFL fans and commentators have been left questioning the decision to award Jordan Dawson the 'Showdown medal' as best player on ground in Adelaide's win over Port Adelaide. The Crows broke clear in the final quarter on Saturday night to win an epic Showdown 53 by 31 points.

Crows captain Jordan Dawson was awarded the Showdown medal for his one-goal, 18-disposal performance. Star recruit Izaak Rankine, young key forward Riley Thilthorpe and stalwarts Rory Sloane and Rory Laird all shone in the 18.9 (117) to 13.8 (86) win at Adelaide Oval.

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However the decision to give Dawson the medal proved a huge talking point after the game, with many of the belief that Rankine and Thilthorpe were both more deserving. According to Champion Data’s AFL Player Ratings system, Rankine was the best player on the field after booting four goals.

The same system also rated Thilthorpe as second-best on field for his five-goal, 11-disposal display. However the medal went to Dawson, leaving many in the AFL world confused.

Former Geelong and GWS player Steve Johnson tweeted: "Whoever the industry experts are in Adelaide need to have a good look at themselves. Love Dawson but that medal should go to a bloke who kicks 5 over one who has 18 and kicks 1!"

North Melbourne David King later revealed on Twitter that he'd been part of the judging panel and hadn't awarded any votes to Dawson. King said he awarded three votes to Rankine, two to Laird and one to Port Adelaide player Connor Rozee.

King later said on Fox Footy: “I had to vote on the medal … The moments that were important were the reason that I gave my three (to Rankine). When the game was in the balance, there was a couple that stood tall most.

Izak Rankine, pictured here celebrating a goal for Adelaide against Port Adelaide.
Izak Rankine celebrates a goal for Adelaide against Port Adelaide. (Photo by Sarah Reed/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

“I thought Izak Rankine had the biggest moments in that second half. He created goals when he had an opportunity. Clearly he’s in an area of the ground where he doesn’t get as much opportunity to win as much ball as others.

“Rory Laird was second best. The volume of clearances this guy won, he was irrepressible at stoppage. And then you could throw a blanket over half a dozen players after that.”

Speaking in the post-match press conference, Dawson said he thought Thilthorpe should have won the gong. “I probably said I thought it was his medal,” Dawson told reporters.

“I was proud of him, you can see the work he’s doing. To see him step up and play a real big boy presence was really pleasing to see as a captain.”

Matthew Nicks heaps praise on Rankine and Thilthorpe

Thilthorpe wasn't picked for the senior team in round one, but returned last week and showed against Port why the Crows recruited him with the second pick in the 2020 draft. "We were confident, we'd seen a moment at training when something really clicked for Riley, in and around his contest, and you saw that," coach Matthew Nicks said.

"He's getting at that ball, he's got confidence in himself, backing himself in. He's going to be quite a dangerous player if he continues to work hard like he's doing at the moment."

Riley Thilthorpe, pictured here celebrating after kicking a goal for the Crows against the Power.
Riley Thilthorpe celebrates after kicking a goal for the Crows against the Power. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Nicks added that Thilthorpe did not drop his head when he was left out of the senior team, adding that he had worked hard with Adelaide's development coaches. "The frustration didn't show, he just put his head down and went to work," Nicks added.

"He knew he was close and he knew his opportunity would come - that's the way the season works. We wanted to make sure ... he was ready and he showed that."

Nicks was also full of praise for Rankine, saying: “When the pressure was on, he stood up so that’s why he went so high in the draft. (But) he went to the Gold Coast, so we had our eye on him from that moment onwards.”

with AAP

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