Trent Cotchin and Sam Mitchell are the new joint recipients of the 2012 Brownlow Medal. That's what the history books will record, but they won't record the humility and grace with which Essendon's Jobe Watson gave up the medal, which he won during the period of the Essendon supplements saga.
The AFL Commission met on Tuesday and ruled that the medal would go to Cotchin (now 26 and the Richmond captain) and Mitchell (now 34 and on his way to the West Coast Eagles after many successful years with Hawthorn).
The commission was said to have been split earlier this week, but handed down a unanimous decision.
"Sam and Trent deserve to be Brownlow Medallists for their quality play in 2012," AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said on Tuesday.
"They'll be presented with their medals next month at a date to be determined with their families present. It has been a really difficult process all the way through. You have to play things as they come and this is one of the more difficult ones we've had in terms of the implications at Essendon. It hasn't been the easiest day."
"This is a day that has no specific joy for anyone," AFL CEO Gill McLachlan said, echoing Fitzpatrick's sombre mood.
Mitchell and Cotchin finished tied on 26 votes, four votes adrift of Watson.