Daniel Rioli controversially nominated for Goal of the Year

Eyebrows were raised among footy fans, especially those from Carlton, when Richmond's Daniel Rioli was chosen this week as a finalist in the Goal of the Year competition - for his brilliant check-side goal at the MCG in Round 3.

The reason for the puzzlement? Rioli's goal, a banana from the boundary line, was not even rated the goal of the round back in April.

That honour went to Carlton captain Marc Murphy's whose effort, another checkside from the right forward pocket, scored 55 percent of the public vote, ahead of Rioli's with 37 percent and Collingwood's Adam Treloar on 8 percent.

So when this week the AFL announced that Rioli had made the shortlist, along with perennial contenders Eddie Betts and Lance Franklin, many Blues fans asked on social media: so what gives? Their skipper's goal got 50 percent more of the vote than Rioli's, so how does the Tiger become a finalist ahead of him?

The AFL's Patrick Keane came to the rescue with an answer.

He told ESPN that the All-Australian Selection Committee chose the three finalists from a selection of 28 goals - the 23 weekly winners, plus another five other contenders chosen by AFL Media footy writers, of which Rioli's goal was clearly one.

The best three goals were then determined on a 5/4/3/2/1 vote given by each member of the selection committee - and that's how Rioli's goal came to feature among the shortlist. (The Goal of the Year, incidentally, will be decided by public voting which is open now and closes on Thursday September 14 at 11.59pm AEST.)

It is the second time in a fortnight that one of the AFL's annual awards has attracted a measure of controversy.

In Round 23 of the regular season, Sydney small forward Will Hayward won the weekly Rising Star nomination even though he had only three kicks in the Swans thumping win over Carlton. It just happened that those three kicks produced three goals.

Some scratched their heads at that nomination when other eligible players, such as North Melbourne's Ryan Clarke, who had 27 possessions and 11 score involvements in the game against Brisbane, were overlooked. Clarke's Champion Data rating was 111, against Hayward's 45.

Essendon's first-year defender Andrew McGrath was a worthy winner of the award last week, pipping pre-count favourite Ryan Burton, of Hawthorn.