‘The worst mistake that’s ever happened’

Hawthorn legend Leigh Matthews has admitted to making “the worst mistake that’s ever happened” after he confused two Tigers teammates for the Norm Smith medal vote.

Richmond secured their third AFL premiership in four years after defeating Geelong 12.9 (81) to 7.8 (50) at the Gabba on Saturday evening.

Tigers superstar Dustin Martin made history by becoming the first player to receive the Norm Smith Medal three times. He snared four goals in the low-scoring encounter, also contributing 21 disposals and four clearances.

Matthews understandably allocated three votes to Martin, but bizarrely awarded two votes to Tigers defender Nathan Broad.

Because Broad finished the Grand Final with eight disposals, two marks and two tackles, many AFL fans understandably questioned why Matthews thought the 27-year-old was the second-best player of the night.

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Speaking on Channel 9’s AFL Sunday Footy Show, Melbourne great Matthew Lloyd asked Matthews about the contentious decision.

“There was a bit of conjecture with your votes. You went obviously Dusty three — everyone knew that — but Nathan Broad as the two votes yesterday?” Lloyd asked.

Matthews revealed he intended to give the two votes to Richmond defender Jayden Short, but accidentally wrote down the wrong name after the match.

Jayden Short played a key role for the Tigers.Source:Getty Images

Short mustered 25 disposals, six tackles and gained 771 metres during Saturday evening’s victory, and had received six votes from the other Norm Smith medal selectors.

“Well I didn’t (choose Broad), did I? I thought I had gone Martin, Short and Edwards,” Matthews replied.

“All I can say is that’s the worst mistake that’s ever happened, because I put down the name Broad instead of the name Short when I was being hustled at the end of the game.

“At the end of the game you’ve got to write down the names quickly.

“I’m glad Short didn’t miss out by a couple of votes. I didn’t see the others vote, but I’m sure everyone gave Martin best of the ground, it was so obvious.

“But if I put Broad down, that was a very big mistake on my part.”

"If I put Broad down, that was a very big mistake on my part."

Leigh Matthews admits to making a blunder in his Norm Smith medal votes.#9AFLSFS | Watch @channel9 pic.twitter.com/XixO9A3teN

Matthews’ blunder obviously had no impact on the outcome, as all five of the individual voters allocated three votes to Martin.

Herald Sun reporter Jon Ralph tweeted: “Leigh Matthews just buggered it up. The AFL has confirmed he just wrote the wrong name down in Norm Smith voting. Broad instead of Short. He felt rushed but voters are told to take as much time as they need. Just an old-fashioned cock-up.”

Following his stellar performance, Martin was all class in his Norm Smith medal acceptance speech.

“First of all, I would just like to thank Geelong for an awesome game,” the 29-year-old said.

“You’re an awesome club. Well done to Gaz (Gary Ablett) on your unbelievable career. To the AFL, Toyota, the government, last but not least, the Richmond footy club. Let’s go.”

Martin’s timely goal late in the first half was the momentum shifter that kept the Tigers in the contest before half time. His effort immediately triggered discussion around his place in history, which now sits alone in grand final pantheon.

Dusty celebrates.Source:Getty Images

Channel 7 commentator Bruce McAvaney said: “The legend of Martin has gone tonight.

“It is almost impossible to feel that it could get any bigger but it has gone one more step tonight.

“Hawthorn legend and two-time Norm Smith medallist Luke Hodge responded: “I agree. We had all week building up saying he is the best finals player ever and we didn’t think we could talk any more highly about this bloke.

“But he came out in a shortened game, kicks four goals, really important goals as well, when Geelong had the momentum, he stood up in the second quarter, and then the way he just turned the table in that last quarter was outstanding from him.”


Dustin Martin – 15

Jayden Short – 6

Shane Edwards – 4

Mitch Duncan – 3

Nathan Broad – 2


Leigh Matthews (3AW, Chairperson)

Dustin Martin (3), Nathan Broad (2), Shane Edwards (1)

Lauren Arnell (ABC)

Dustin Martin (3), Jayden Short (2), Mitch Duncan (1)

Malcolm Blight (SEN SA)

Dustin Martin (3), Mitch Duncan (2), Shane Edwards (1)

Damian Barrett (AFL.com.au)

Dustin Martin (3), Jayden Short (2), Shane Edwards (1)

Peter Ryan (The Age)

Dustin Martin (3), Jayden Short (2), Shane Edwards (1)

— with Tyson Otto

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