ALBURY star Joel Mackie won a second Morris Medal in controversial circumstances on Monday night.
Mackie polled 22 votes, one behind North Albury’s Nick Holman.
But Holman was ruled ineligible after being suspended early in the season.
Pre-count favourite, Tiger Dean Polo, was runner-up, one vote behind Mackie, with Wodonga Raiders surprise packet Sam Murray third on 19 votes.
Mackie, a runaway winner of the medal in 2012, said he was happy to win but disappointed for Holman.
“We played in a premiership together in ’08 at Jindera, he’s a ripping fella so it’s mixed feelings,” Mackie said.
“In some ways it’s bittersweet, but still very honoured to win it again.
“I was hoping me and Deano could sit on 21 (votes) together and take it out together.”
Holman was banned for two games after being found guilty of striking Raider Matt Neagle in round three.
He was reported from video evidence of an incident in the third quarter of the Hoppers’ 30-point victory.
Holman polled the maximum three votes in six games.
Mackie didn’t get a vote until round 3, when he polled two in the win over Wangaratta.
The tough nut polled in 11 games, getting the maximum three votes in five matches.
Mackie led Holman by a vote going into the last round, but polled just one vote in the loss to the Wangaratta Rovers to finish on 22.
Holman polled three in the narrow win away to Corowa-Rutherglen to finish on 23.
Holman is the first player to poll the most votes but be ineligible to win the medal because of suspension since John Smith in 1974.
Smith polled 16 votes, one more than Corowa’s Alan Way, who received the medal when Smith was ruled ineligible because of a six-match suspension from the previous year’s grand final.
Smith won the 1973 Morris Medal by five votes but was reported for striking Benalla’s Robbie Allen in the grand final.