After fans were left scratching their head at the decision to choose Darren Lockyer for the man of the match award; it’s been revealed today that a 4-person judging team actually wanted to change their choice.
A panel consisting of Bob McCarthy (Australia), Brian Noble (England), Darrell Williams (New Zealand) and James Pickering (Fiji) were instructed to lodge their vote with 10 minutes remaining in the World Cup Final. The Australia still in the fight and Darren Lockyer having a top-shelf game, the panel came up with the Broncos pivot as the choice.
But after the Kiwi’s stunned the World with their historic victory in the final minutes, it has surfaced today that the panel wanted to change their initial decision with 3 minutes to go in the final.
But the voting panel were informed their initial vote was final and could not be changed – robbing a New Zealand player of receiving the coveted award.
Kiwi standouts Adam Blair, Nathan Cayless, Sam Rapira, Jeremy Smith, Lance Hohaia and Nathan Fien were all in the hunt for the man of the match gong, with Lockyer and Anthony Laffranchi leading the Australian choices.
Each voter chose secretly and independently,Â with pivot Lockyer coming out the majority winner with 10 minutes to go.
Williams would not go into detail about the apparent about face in the final minutes; with suggestions the voting panel tried unsuccessfully to have the choice changed.
With minutes to go in the game, the match was still in the balance but with 3 minutes left, panel members had a strong idea the Kiwis would come home and felt they were in a better position to vote.
Williams, a former New Zealand rep, admitted the final decision had to be reached after 70 minutes.
“We were caught out – we probably needed that final 10 minutes,” Williams told the media afterwards.
“It was difficult. In hindsight, perhaps one of the Kiwis should have got it. We didn’t vote as a group – we all voted independently.”