Adam Cooney wins Brownlow Medal - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Adam Cooney wins Brownlow Medal

22/09/2008 11:34:02 PM Comments (0)

Western Bulldogs midfielder Adam Cooney has won the Brownlow Medal for the AFL's best and fairest player, edging out Brisbane's Simon Black by one vote.

Cooney polled 24 votes to Black's 23, with Geelong's Gary Ablett and Richmond's Matthew Richardson tied for third with 22 votes.

Brisbane midfielder Black led the count for all but the final two rounds.

But Cooney polled maximum votes in the Bulldogs' round 21 clash against Essendon to leapfrog Black, with none of the top four players polling votes in round 22.

In a thrilling count, both Cooney and Black built their tallies with commanding first halves of the season.

After round 12, Cooney trailed Black by one vote, 20 to 19.

But in the second half of the year, Cooney polled five votes to Black's three, enough to deny the Brisbane star his second Brownlow after his 2002 win.

Cooney, 22, was the No.1 selection in the 2003 draft and has blossomed into one of the competition's premier goalkicking midfielders.

The South Australian revealed he had played the finals series with a fractured kneecap, with the Dogs bowing out in last weekend's preliminary final with a 29-point loss to Geelong.

"It's not broken all the way through, just fractured," Cooney said.

"I don't really know when it happened - I think it was the Hawthorn game (qualifying final).

"I pulled up a bit sore."

The theatre of the last few rounds of voting nearly produced one of the Brownlow Medal's best feelgood stories, with 33-year-old Richmond star Richardson within sight of claiming the medal.

But despite being willed on by a significant section of the crowd gathered at Crown Casino for the count, Richardson just failed to peg back Cooney and Black after his 16th and arguably best AFL season.

Both Richardson and hot pre-Brownlow favourite Ablett paid a heavy price for missing matches late in the season through injury.

The count got off to an embarrassing start, with AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou mistakenly reading out the round two votes as those for round one.

He made it virtually through the votes before he was alerted to his error.

He corrected himself, finished reading the round two votes, then read out the round one votes next.

While the error did not have any effect on the overall count, it could have had some effect on in-play betting which was being conducted on the event.

Retiring dual Brownlow Medallist Robert Harvey's career was recognised with a tribute on the night - former St Kilda teammates and club identities forming a guard of honour for the 37-year-old.

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