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Peter Moore – Former Australian Rules Brownlow Medal Winner

peter mooreSince we are always the ones to appreciate efficiency, we have a warm spot in our heart for today’s subject in our ongoing examination of Brownlow Medal winners. That is because Peter Moore (11 January 1957) won the award twice, the first time in 1979 and the second time in 1984. He was playing for the Collingwood Football Club when he won in 1979 and the Melbourne Football Club in 1984. We can therefore cover two years’ worth of Brownlow winners with one article; even though we doubt that we can sneak by with charging the boss twice.

Moore is not the only player to win the Brownlow whilst playing for more than one club. Ian Stewart, three-time winner, got his with St. Kilda and Richmond. Greg Williams, whose first win came in 1986, whilst he was playing with the Swans club that has produced Brownlow winners and not much else, got his second in 1994 with Carlton. Gary Ablett and Chris Judd are the other two players who can count this accomplishment.

In terms of the number of years betwixt awards, the distinction for the most belongs to Bob Skilton at nine years, Greg Williams at eight and Chris Judd with six before we arrive at Moore’s five years.

Peter Moore played for 14 seasons in the VFL, amassing a total of 249 games played and kicking 244 goals. He received 108 Brownlow votes, none in 1976 and only 14 in 1977, the two years where the number of votes inflated due to the brief two-season experiment with two voters involved individually, so his vote total was not as skewed as were those of some of the other prominent players of those seasons.

Moore grew up in the northeast Melbourne suburb of Eltham, where he attended a school known more for performing arts, Eltham High School. He is credited with being academically as well as athletically gifted. He played for the school football club and attracted the attention of VFL teams before being selected by Collingwood.

He still had a few months until he turned 18 when he made his VFL debut late in the 1974 season. His first game was in round 21 on 24 August where the Magpies were embarrassed by North Melbourne. We will not add to the embarrassment by reporting the score. Moore then played round 22 and participated in an elimination final win over Footscray, followed by a season-ending semifinal loss to Hawthorn.

Moore was a regular contributor the following year, although he did miss a few rounds. He contributed five goals from his ruck position before the Pies bowed out in an elimination final match with Richmond. The side declined in 1976, failing to qualify for the finals series, but Moore was beginning to exert more influence, kicking 19 goals. He really took off in 1977, kicking a career-high 76. It was a very dramatic season, as the club started the season with six consecutive wins, and then had another five-game binge following a round 10 loss to of all teams, South Melbourne. The Magpies made it to the Grand Final against North Melbourne and Moore kicked four goals in a game that resulted in a draw. His five goals in the replay were not enough to lead the side to victory and North Melbourne claimed the premiership.

Collingwood made the finals again in 1978, but could not advance to the Grand Final. Despite kicking 57 goals and posting respectable statistics in other categories, Moore apparently was not as good or as sportsmanlike as he had been the previous season, since he attracted only three Brownlow votes.

That number climbed to 22 when he won his first Brownlow in 1979. The Magpies were again good, but fell short to Carlton in the Grand Final by five points. They would experience the exact same fate in 1980, this time at the hands of Richmond, although we again need to be kind and not mention the domination the Tigers exhibited. It was the Blues who frustrated the Magpies in 1981, but the outcome was at least respectable. It marked the fourth time in Moore’s tenure with Collingwood that the side would come close, but were unable to take the premiership. For someone who had been declared Best and Fairest by the VFL in 1979 and had received the same mention from his teammates in 1979 and 1980, Moore’s frustration boiled over and caused him to chuck his runners-up medallion during the 1981 presentation ceremony, but it is difficult to fault him over this.

Injured for much of the 1982 season, he played the first four rounds before sitting until round 13. He played just more games that year and it would appear that without his services on a consistent basis, Collingwood could not maintain the previous high level.

Collingwood inducted him into their Hall of Fame for his contributions during his nine seasons with the club, but then transferred him to the Melbourne Football Club. His five seasons with that side saw him recover his old form. Unfortunately, for a player accustomed to consistent success at the team level, Moore would never again play in the finals series. The lone bright spot would have to be his second Brownlow Medal in 1984, when he finished the home-and-away season with a three-vote margin over David Cloke of Moore’s former Tigers team. The 1985 and 86 seasons found Moore and his side near the bottom of the ladder. In 1985, only St. Kilda prevented them from the ignominy of a wooden spoon. The Saints performed the same favour in 1986.

Despite a long career and quite considerable accomplishments, Peter Moore is not associated with the Team of the Century for either of the clubs on which he played. He did win two Brownlows, served as Collingwood captain in his final two seasons with the club, earn two Copeland Trophies as Collingwood Best and Fairest, lead the team in goal kicking twice, and was named to the All-Australian Team in 1979. He also played once as Victorian Representative and was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

Moore represents something of a rarity amongst Brownlow Medal winners in that he played for a strong team that was a regular finals series participant on many occasions. Many of the Brownlow winners gave the appearance of great players being consoled for playing on sub-standard sides. Moore, on the other hand, had four opportunities for the top prize in football, only to be denied every time.

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