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Will the 2012 Brownlow be won by two - or lost to all?

Football

The fate of the 2012 Brownlow Medal will be decided by the AFL Commission today, with AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick to deliver the verdict at a late-afternoon media conference.

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On a busy day at AFL House, the Commission will also consider the findings of the investigation into the Lachie Whitfield affair.

It was widely reported yesterday that the threat of heftier sanctions from the World Anti-Doping Agency prompted Graeme Allan and Craig Lambert – key Greater Western Sydney figures in the Whitfield saga – to accept bans for the entire 2017 season.

But the fate of the 2012 Brownlow Medal, handed back to the league by Essendon’s Jobe Watson, will be the first order of business.

Watson relieved the Commission of the difficult task of stripping him of the Brownlow Medal when he announced he’d return it on Friday.

“I guess it’ll be something that eventually I’ll move on from, but at the moment it hurts a bit,” Watson told reporters yesterday.

The 31-year-old was one of the 34 past and present Essendon players who were banned for the 2016 season for anti-doping code violations arising from the club’s ill-fated 2012 supplements program.

He won the award ahead of Richmond’s Trent Cotchin and Sam Mitchell – then with Hawthorn – who were tied for second.

The Commission has to decide whether to leave the 2012 Brownlow winner blank, with an asterisk in record books, or strike two new medals to give to Cotchin and Mitchell.

The Commission is believed to be split on which course of action to take.

Cotchin is on record as saying that he would accept the AFL’s highest individual honour in the case of Watson’s disqualification, while Mitchell hasn’t made his thoughts on the issue public.

Both were invited to make submissions to the Commission to establish a case for being awarded medals but they both declined, as did Watson, who said he didn’t have an opinion on whether the pair should receive the honour.

Fitzpatrick will be joined at the press conference by AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan, with the announcement of penalties in the Whitfield investigation also a possibility.

The trio have been investigated after Whitfield spent three days at Lambert’s house, with the knowledge of Allan, in May last year in an alleged bid to avoid a possible drug test.

It has been reported the young GWS midfielder will be handed a six-month ban.

The two ex-Giants staff members involved in the cover-up are also set for 12-month bans under the AFL-imposed but ASADA-backed agreement.

Allan replaced Neil Balme as the head of football at Collingwood in August, while Lambert departed the Giants to take up a development role with Brisbane this season.

The punishments could also include the loss of picks for GWS in this month’s national draft.

-AAP

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