SHARP-SHOOTERS - The BFNL's top 50 goalkickers since 2005
SOUTH Bendigo is seeking to have Gary Cowling added to the list of Bendigo Football-Netball League Michelsen medallists for his 1979 season.
The Bloods have written to the BFNL asking the board to consider awarding Cowling a retrospective 1979 Michelsen Medal after he was denied one on a countback.
The BFNL history books show the winners of the 1979 Michelsen Medal were Sandhurst's Peter Tyack and Golden Square's Eric Pascoe, both on 14 votes.
However, Cowling also polled 14 votes, but as detailed in the Bendigo Advertiser report of the count on October 9, 1979, wasn't one of the joint winners.
"Unluckiest player in the poll was South Bendigo's Gary Cowling, who also finished with 14 votes, but was the first of the three players eliminated in the countback," wrote the Addy's Richard Jones.
"Cowling finished with two three votes, three two votes and two one votes."
Tyack and Pascoe - neither of whom were in attendance at the Bendigo Club that night - both polled three three votes, two two votes and one one vote.
Cowling was eliminated in the countback based on having one less three-vote game than Pascoe and Tyack.
However, in a quirk of the countback system, Cowling actually polled in more games than Tyack and Pascoe.
The Bloods' push for Cowling to be recognised as a BFNL Michelsen medallist comes after he passed away last month.
The Bloods believe the BFNL should consider adopting a similar precedent to that of the AFL, which in 1989 awarded retrospective Brownlow medals to eight players who had previously lost on countback.
"Gary passed last month at far too young an age and so will not enjoy this overdue recognition," Bloods president Alan Ellis wrote in his submission to the board.
"Nevertheless, I am sure the gesture will be greatly appreciated by his family and for posterity, record his achievement as not only a champion of the South Bendigo Football Netball Club, but also of the Bendigo FNL."
Tyack said on Friday that he would be more than happy to share the 1979 Michelsen Medal with both Pascoe and Cowling.
"I've always thought that if you finish on the same number of votes as someone, it doesn't matter how you get there, if you've got the most votes you've won," Tyack said.
"Back in those times they did the countback, but I'd be extremely happy if the BFNL decided to award Gary a retrospective medal because he did end up on the same votes as Eric and I.
I'd be extremely happy if the BFNL decided to award Gary a retrospective medal because he did end up on the same votes as Eric and IPeter Tyack
"I remember Gary being one of those tough, uncompromising players who had all the skills from juniors all the way through.
"He played in the centre and I remember him having some really good battles with Gary Crouch when we played South."
The 1979 Michelsen Medal count featured a packed leaderboard.
As well as Tyack, Pascoe and Cowling all finishing on 14 votes, Kennington's Wayne McCumber was one vote back on 13.
Then followed Golden Square's Gary Mountjoy and Eaglehawk's Rod Fehring on 12 and Castlemaine's Stan Camov on 11.
"Dad used to joke about his playing days and never spoke about the Michelsen Medal, so this is all fairly new to us," Cowling's daughter, Lauren, said.
"My uncle, Shane, has been keeping us in the loop about what's been happening in regards to the request from South Bendigo to the league.
"From dad's perspective, I think he'd be a bit like, 'what's all the fuss about', but at the same time that type of recognition is always nice.
"But it certainly wasn't his personality to be too fussed about things like this."
Cowling - who also played four reserves games for Carlton in 1977 and 1980 - died on October 29 aged 61.
"He loved his footy and playing the game. When that finished he really enjoyed following his kids and grandkids and watching them play sport," Lauren said.
BFNL chair Carol McKinstry said the board would consider the application from South Bendigo at its next meeting on December 11.
"It's something that sounds straight forward, but if we were to do something like this for one person then due diligence says we would have to go back and look for others in the same circumstances," McKinstry said.
"So as a board it's something that we need to fully look into and discuss."
If the Bloods' submission to the BFNL to have Cowling recognised as a Michelsen medallist is successful, he would become just the club's fifth winner, along with Colin Rice (1968), Bernie McCarthy (1973), Marty Graham (1984) and Robin Keck (1997).
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