Patrick Dangerfield has dedicated his AFL Brownlow Medal to fellow Geelong great Paul Couch in an emotional tribute.
The Cats midfielder polled a record 35 votes, with Sydney onballer Luke Parker nine back in second.
Dangerfield came to Monday night’s count with mixed emotions, knowing he was the overwhelming favourite, but still angry about their preliminary final loss to the Swans last Friday night.
He said a touching tribute to Couch midway through the evening helped him realise the enormity of what it would mean to win his first Brownlow.
Couch, the 1989 Brownlow winner, died on March 5 of a heart attack.
His former teammates Andrew Bews, Tim McGrath, Tim Darcy and Barry Stoneham spoke about Couch in a recorded segment during the Brownlow telecast.
Cough was Geelong’s fourth Brownlow winner and Dangerfield is now their seventh.
“Ultimately, as footballers, team success is the most important thing,” Dangerfield said in his acceptance speech.
“But I think halfway through the count, when Paul Couch was replayed and the conversations around how Paul contributed to the game, it hit me what it would be like to be a Brownlow Medallists.
“So Couchy, this one is for you mate.”
Dangerfield was under intense pressure when he left Adelaide at the end of last season and went to Geelong under free agency.
But his game went to another level and he formed an outstanding midfield combination with Cats captain Joel Selwood, to the point they are now nicknamed Dangerwood.
Dangerfield thanked Adelaide for giving him his AFL start and thanked Geelong for helping him improve even further.
“I don’t think any individual that ever stands up here, stands up here just because of themselves,” he said.
“It is a collaborative effort from previously Adelaide and now Geelong.
“(Playing at Geelong) has been a recipe for success and a recipe for enjoyment.”
Dangerfield’s tally of 35 beat by one the previous Brownlow votes record, set by Collingwood star Dane Swan in 2011.