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Cripps calls for AFL Brownlow eligibility change

3 minute read

Carlton captain Patrick Cripps, the 2022 Brownlow Medallist, wants the AFL to review the eligibility criteria for the game's most prestigious individual award.

PATRICK CRIPPS.
PATRICK CRIPPS. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Brownlow Medallist Patrick Cripps wants the AFL to review the award's eligibility rules at the end of the season.

The Carlton captain, who won the league's most prestigious individual award two years ago, made the call just hours before Sydney star Isaac Heeney faced the AFL tribunal.

Heeney was one of the top favourites for the Brownlow until he received a one-game ban for striking St Kilda defender Jimmy Webster during the Swans' upset loss against the Saints on Sunday.

Heeney's remains ineligible for the Brownlow after he was unsuccessful in having the charge downgraded at the tribunal.

The midfielder/forward was taken out of Brownlow betting minutes after the incident.

Cripps found himself in an identical scenario in 2022, when he was suspended for two games after a bump on Brisbane's Callum Ah Chee.

But the Blues were able to overturn the ban in a marathon appeals hearing and Cripps went on to win his first Brownlow, in one of the most thrilling counts in history.

Hours before Heeney's tribunal hearing, the Blues superstar felt the AFL should review eligibility criteria to keep up with modern standards.

"It's obviously been a rule since it (the Brownlow) started," Cripps said on Tuesday ahead of his 200th AFL game.

"I feel like how we're protecting the head and little incidents, I feel like it's definitely a thing that needs to be reviewed at the end of the year.

"Because you'd hate to see someone like Isaac, if he did win, miss out on the chance. He's had a great year and he's a great player, and I feel like he plays the game the right way."

Prominent AFL commentator Gerard Healy, the 1988 Brownlow winner, also has called for a review of the eligibility rules.

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