Swan claims Brownlow Medal at last

Dane Swan, midfielder for Melbourne-based club, Collingwood, has been awarded the Brownlow Medal, described as the “most prestigious individual award” in Aussie rules football by the website of The Australian. The accolade, which was given to Swan on Saturday, was awarded on the strength of the player’s performance during the past season; winners are alleged to be the “fairest and best” footballers in their division.

Swan’s success represents a marked turnaround in opinion of the player – or at least, an improvement on last year, when he lost out on second place in the running for the Brownlow to Carlton F.C. captain, Chris Judd. Swan claimed 34 individual votes to take ‘Charlie’, as the Brownlow is colloquially known, the largest number of votes ever received by a player in the Australian Football League (AFL). Fans of live Aussie rules will know how much he deserved it.

Chris Judd, despite missing out on a medal at this year’s event, became the first Aussie rules player to collect a minimum of 20 votes in five separate Brownlow Medal ceremonies.

Interviewed after receiving his award, Swan claims to have been surprised by the judges’ decision. “I didn’t come with any expectations of winning”, the 27-year-old explained. Swan had tipped his team mate, Scott ‘Pendles’ Pendlebury, to take the Brownlow, noting that he had arrived “nice and relaxed […] to cheer Pendles home”.

This year’s accolade was not awarded to the favourite, a frequent occurrence at Brownlow Medal ceremonies and something anyone looking at the AFL betting odds will know about.

Swan refused to drink champagne at his own toast in Melbourne, at the weekend. The midfielder said that he would save the celebrations for the coming Saturday, the day of Collingwood’s title defence in the AFL. Victory would top off an excellent season for Swan, and ensure that Collingwood’s coach, Michael Malthouse, becomes one of only two managers in AFL history to win the league with two different clubs.

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