Oct 9 2019

Star Tiger’s vote against the umpires

As the Richmond faithful prepare to relive their last premiership in a new documentary, one memory from an otherwise glorious 1980 still rankles with champion centreman Geoff Raines.

In a season in which he was the club best and fairest and was one of the best midfielders in the competition, Raines believes there was an umpiring conspiracy against him, as he began the Brownlow Medal count as favourite but left the night bewildered and voteless.

Raines believes former umpire Peter Cameron was central to this, although Bill Deller, another umpire from that era and a former chief of the AFL Umpires Association, denies such claims.

”What I heard was that Peter Cameron … Peter was very cunning. You thought he was on your side, but he is on everyone’s side,” Raines told Fairfax Media.

”All I know is that Peter had a fair influence with the umpiring fraternity. He was quite senior. There were little things that came out, basically, I wouldn’t say not to give me votes, but I think he was saying: ‘He chirps back at the umpires, he is a sniper, he does this, he does that’.

”I know – a couple of umpires have told me. I am not saying I would have won, but I would have thought I would have got a vote.”

Footscray full-forward Kelvin Templeton emerged victorious, with Essendon wingman, the late Merv Neagle, runner-up. Ruckman Mark Lee, with 16 votes and equal sixth, led the Tigers’ count.

Raines, a three-time Richmond best and fairest and named on the bench in the club’s team of the century, airs his theory in a documentary on the 1980 premiership, The Final Story – 1980, on Channel Nine on Thursday night.

”I think there was a bit of a campaign from behind the scenes by the umpires,” he says.

Deller said on Tuesday Raines’ claims were ridiculous. ”I didn’t even realise he didn’t get a vote. I can’t remember any umpire in the 20 years that I was involved discussing votes. It wasn’t worth your spot on the list,” he said.

”I don’t remember Raines as a back-chatter or anything like that. In fact, I got on with him pretty well.”

Cameron umpired 306 matches between 1977 and 1993, including three grand finals, and was judged the league’s best umpire in 1985.

Raines, however, maintains the ”proof is in the pudding”.

”If you don’t get a vote, something funny has gone on. But I can’t prove that. Kelvin Templeton was a worthy medallist,” he said.

”I played on ‘Gubby’ Allan at the ‘G against Fitzroy. I think I kicked three goals and had 34 touches. He said it was one of the best games he had seen a centreman play and I played on him. He was absolutely astonished I didn’t get any votes.

”I have got no bones with Peter [Cameron], but there is some kind of conspiracy. But when you talk about these things, they think you are a spoilt brat and because you didn’t get a vote you start complaining. It’s none of that.

”I have said this – I was happy with a best and fairest in a winning premiership side. For me, that’s the ultimate.”

Raines played 134 games for the Tigers before crossing to Collingwood during the poaching war of 1983.

The documentary relives the story behind the 1980 premiership, a then record 81-point win against Collingwood. Players recall an infamous training session on a 41-degree day under coach Tony Jewell, and the hypnotism sessions the players were put under by club psychologist Rudi Webster.

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