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Your club’s best chance of winning the Brownlow Medal


Who at your club is the best chance of winning the Brownlow Medal?

Some sides in 2021 may not have a legitimate winning hope, but who will poll the most votes?

Below are the top few at each of the 18 clubs:

Adelaide club banner

Laird enjoyed a superb season, but will be a victim of Adelaide’s lack of wins. He stepped into a permanent midfield role and flourished. The 27-year-old averaged more than 31 disposals and had season-best numbers for tackles, clearances and inside 50s. Had 27 touches in an upset win over Geelong in round one, 35 possessions in the one-point triumph over Melbourne in round 10 and 30-plus disposals in wins over the Saints (round 13) and Hawks (round 19). Could reach double figure votes after a stellar campaign.

In a scintillating start, Walker could find himself in the votes after two bags of six goals and one of five in the first three rounds. Keays was consistent as a midfielder and could tick away behind Laird.

Andrew Slevison

Brisbane club banner

While Lachie Neale claimed last year’s award, he’ll almost certainly finish behind inside midfielder Lyons in this year’s count. In perhaps the best season of his career, Lyons has claims as best afield in seven games and should go close to breaking the 20-vote mark. You can just about lock him in for six votes against his former club Gold Coast, being awarded the Marcus Ashcroft Medal for best afield in both games. He played every game and averaged career-highs in disposals, marks and tackles.

Expect McCluggage to feature near the top of the leaderboard due to a purple patch from round three to 10.

The skipper won another Lions best and fairest and could poll double figures, mainly due to his hot run of form from round 18 onwards.

Lachlan Geleit

Carlton club banner

Walsh should easily lead Carlton’s count, but could he be a smoky to take home the medal? Walsh should poll sporadically across the first half of the season, with best-on-ground performances likely against Essendon and Hawthorn. After the bye, he went into overdrive and put himself in podium consideration. He could poll as many as 14 votes in six weeks between rounds 15 and 20. The young star earned his first All-Australian selection and took the mantle from Patrick Cripps as Carlton’s best midfielder.

Won the Coleman Medal and also earned All-Australian selection. Dominated enough games to get votes.

Nic Negrepontis

Collingwood club banner

With just six wins from 22 games, it’s unlikely any Collingwood player will pose a threat in this year’s count. But if there was one standout in the majority of those triumphs, it was almost certainly star on-baller Adams. Despite missing eight games with injury, when Adams was on the park he was clearly the Magpies’ most influential midfielder. He was the catalyst behind at least two of Collingwood’s victories, against Carlton and Richmond, and could well pick up votes in tight losses to Port Adelaide and Fremantle. He averaged 27.3 disposals and a career-high 7.1 clearances a game and should go close to breaking double digits in the count, as he did in 2020 with 11 votes.

Despite missing nine games, Moore starred when he was on the park and should poll due to his early-season influence.

He hit top form in the latter half of the year when racking up touches as a midfielder. Historically has not been a strong vote poller.

Lachlan Geleit

Essendon club banner

Parish is raging hot favourite to win the Crichton Medal as Essendon’s best and fairest and is right in Brownlow Medal contention. The 24-year-old is all but guaranteed nine votes already, having been named best-on-ground against Collingwood (Anzac Medal), Richmond (Yiooken Award) and Geelong (Tom Wills Award) earlier this year. The real story will be just how many votes teammate Zach Merrett may take from him. Parish averaged more than 30 touches a game, but Merrett was also impressive throughout. Parish’s improvement saw him named in the All-Australian team and he was a key reason for Essendon’s return to finals and that’s expected to be reflected on Brownlow night.

If Parish doesn’t get votes, it’s likely Merrett, his All-Australian teammate, has taken them. He should poll very strongly as one of the top 10 hopes.

Laurence Rosen

Fremantle club banner

He might have recently celebrated his 36th birthday, but Mundy may just have had his best season yet. The veteran could easily be leading the count at the halfway point, but could a fairytale story unfold from there? He hasn’t polled 10 or more votes in a Brownlow count since 2015, but seems a certainty to get there this year. Mundy starred across the first six weeks of the season and is a chance to land four best-on-ground performances. He could have another two on either side of the bye and sporadic votes late in the season. Mundy may not win, but he again reaffirmed his status as a star of the competition.

With Nat Fyfe injured and Andrew Brayshaw ineligible, Darcy’s strong second half of the year should see him poll votes.

The midfielder is ineligible but is a chance to poll solidly for the Dockers. Could perhaps be second behind Mundy for total votes.

Nic Negrepontis

Geelong club banner

The hard-working and much-improved midfielder followed up on his career-best season in 2020 with more of the same. Led the Cats in disposals (599), and was 102 ahead of the next best Cat (Joel Selwood). Did a lot of heavy lifting forward of centre and was in Geelong’s top five for score assists (21), score involvements (116) and inside 50s (80). His standout games included a career-high 43 disposals and 10 clearances against Hawthorn in round three, and 10 clearances and 35 disposals (16 contested) against West Coast in round six. Also had 36 and 34 touches in Geelong’s two wins over Richmond in rounds eight and 19 respectively. Polled 14 votes in 2020, and should be around that mark again.

The Cats skipper had a couple of big games, including 39 touches and 10 clearances against the Suns in round 10.

Is ineligible to win but should poll well, as he normally does. Could poll the second most amount of votes behind Guthrie.

Michael Lovett

Gold Coast club banner

With star midfielder Touk Miller ineligible due to suspension in round eight, Anderson is next in line for Gold Coast. The second-year Sun continues to develop after his switch from the wing to an inside midfield role, averaging career-best numbers in disposals, tackles and clearances. The 20-year-old, who was selected with pick No. 2 in the 2019 NAB AFL Draft, starred in wins over North Melbourne in round two, Sydney in round six and Carlton in round 21. He also performed strongly in losses to the Blues in round four and Port Adelaide in round 14. Gold Coast won just seven games, meaning the club is unlikely to poll prolifically on Brownlow night.

Booted a career-best 47 goals and place seventh in the Coleman Medal. Kicked four goals or more on five occasions.

Cannot win having been suspended during the season but will undoubtedly poll the most votes for the Suns. Had a terrific season, making the All-Australian.

Alex Zaia

GWS Giants club banner

Kelly has been among the votes in each of the past five seasons, tallying 56 in that time, including a career-best 21 in 2017. He is unlikely to finish at the pointy end this year, given his side’s wide range of contributors, but his more attractive game style could make him stand out among his Giants peers. The 26-year-old could land votes in rounds seven and eight against Adelaide and Essendon respectively. His performances in the North Melbourne draw (round 13) and Melbourne victory (round 16) were vote-worthy, and he will almost certainly rake in votes for the round 22 win over Richmond. Kelly has played his most games (21) since 2017 after missing a handful to injury in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

The 23-year-old midfielder returned to his best in 2021 and should feature prominently from a Giants perspective.

Cannot win the medal after copping some suspensions but will land some votes for some huge performances as a match-winning goalkicker.

Andrew Slevison

Hawthorn club banner

The 2018 Brownlow medallist was in prolific form for much of the season and ended up with 754 disposals, the most of any player in the competition. It was a fine return to form after a difficult 2020 campaign that he fought through with an injured shoulder that required reconstructive surgery at the end of the season. Further proof of his excellent form was his 74.5 per cent disposal efficiency, not that that figure is essentially front of mind when the umpires are awarding their votes. Still, since joining the Hawks in 2017, Mitchell has been a proven vote-getter with 25 in 2017, 28 in his medal-winning 2018 and 10 last year in a lousy team during a shortened season and playing while hurt.

Finsihed third to Mitchell in the Peter Crimmins Medal and although he will not be challenging him for the club's most Brownlow votes, he is expected to poll enough to be in the top few Hawks.

The dashing defender turned in several eye-catching performances with his electrifying run and carry off half-back.

Ashley Browne

Melbourne club banner

Melbourne won’t have any shortage of candidates for this year’s Brownlow Medal, but Oliver would be top of the list. He averaged nearly 32 touches a game and, while the numbers are impressive in isolation, it was his ball-use and ability to extract the footy at the coalface which improved markedly this season. Oliver has always been a good accumulator of the ball, but his efficiency and ability to distribute were the hallmark of a glittering season that earned him an All-Australian blazer. Ranked fifth in the AFL for disposals, eighth for inside 50s and 12th for tackles, Oliver is one of the league’s pre-eminent players and will be right up there in Brownlow contention.

Fellow All-Australian Petracca will also poll well and is Oliver’s main challenger for most Demons votes.

Laurence Rosen

North Melbourne club banner

Cunnington is the most likely Kangaroo to poll votes. Of course, being part of side which claimed the wooden spoon makes it hard to compete for the ultimate prize, but he has polled double-digit votes in four different years. Should crack 10 votes again, with likely best-on-ground performances in round nine, where he won 37 disposals against Hawthorn, and round 15, where he had 28 disposals and eight clearances against Gold Coast. The star on-baller finished the year on the injury list after a cancer scare and won’t poll in the final five weeks. Has the potential to pick up votes in seven or eight games. There’s no doubt Cunnington remains the most important piece in the Roos’ midfield.

Simpkin closed the season in strong form. He could poll votes in four straight games between rounds 17 and 20.

Nic Negrepontis

Port Adelaide club banner

Port Adelaide is yet to crown a Brownlow medallist since entering the AFL in 1997 – but Wines could break the drought. The Power star was consistently outstanding all season, earning his first All-Australian blazer. Found a stack of the footy and was often Port’s best in its wins as it finished strongly to sew up a top-four finish. As the year went on, the bullocking midfielder’s case for winning the medal strengthened, polling 40-plus disposals twice and notching over 30 on multiple occasions, hurting the opposition with his ability to set up scores for his team. Polled 10 votes in last year’s count and is sure to better the 18 he polled in 2017 – the most he has received in his career.

Boak had another terrific season. Has received the most Brownlow votes (139) of any Power player in club history.

Alex Zaia

Richmond club banner

Despite missing the final six matches with a kidney injury, the 2017 Brownlow medallist could again lead the way for the Tigers. He might start with back-to-back best-on-grounds against Carlton and Hawthorn, while more votes are on offer for the round six win over St Kilda. Martin’s four-goal, 28-disposal effort in the comeback victory over GWS in round nine should land him maximum votes, and he is in the mix after three goals and 27 touches in the Dreamtime triumph over the Bombers in Perth. Remarkably, Martin has hit double-figure votes in nine of his 11 seasons before 2021. However, his chances of finishing in the top handful this year are not as strong.

Bolton polled nine votes in a breakout 2020 season and arguably enjoyed a more fruitful campaign this year.

Andrew Slevison

St Kilda club banner

St Kilda’s most consistent performer this season and a chance to poll strongly again. Assuming the co-captaincy didn’t impact Steele’s output – in fact, he thrived on the added responsibility. The prolific midfielder and dual All-Australian regularly racked up big disposal numbers, worked tirelessly without the ball and hit the scoreboard when needed. While the Saints had a disappointing year, Steele further elevated his game, delivering outstanding performances in wins and losses. St Kilda’s reigning best and fairest winner finished equal-third in last year’s count with 20 votes, polling in nine of 17 games. He is a real chance to be in the mix late in the count again.

Sporting an extravagant mullet, Sinclair flourished in a new role across half-back in a career-best season.

The midfield pair put some prolific performances together in the second half of the season.

Alex Zaia

Sydney club banner

Probably Sydney’s most consistent performer, Parker should again have a solid night at this year’s count. The gun midfielder averaged a career-high 27.6 disposals and featured in every game. While Callum Mills will take votes off him throughout the year, Parker’s purple patch after the round 15 bye could see him poll in seven of the last nine games to storm home. It’s unlikely he’ll feature at the top of the leaderboard or break his career-topping tally of 26 votes in 2016, but Parker performed in enough games to consistently feature in the best. With the Swans qualifying for finals for the first time since 2018, expect him to poll near 20 votes.

Has genuine claims in being best afield in at least six of Sydney’s wins and should go close to Parker’s tally.

Lachlan Geleit

West Coast club banner

The 31-year-old regularly recorded time-on-ground percentages in the low 60s, but was far and away the most consistent and influential Eagle, earning his third All-Australian selection. He averaged a career-best 14.8 disposals and seven clearances and lived the mantra that a ruckman should be an extra on-baller, with Elliot Yeo, Luke Shuey and Tim Kelly sidelined for long stretches. When he went nuclear in the ruck, West Coast’s opposition struggled to escape the centre bounce-goal, centre bounce-goal rhythm, and it turned games. It will hurt his prospects that the Eagles won their fewest games in a season since 2013, but there could be a steady stream of ones and twos. Won his second John Worsfold Medal.

Played closer to the source than he’d prefer going forward, but still top two at West Coast for goal assists and inside 50s.

Both Sheed and Gaff were prolific ball winners for the Eagles in a difficult season. Sheed has polled double figures in each of the last two seasons and should continue that trend while Gaff has been a consistent vote getter over the years.

Nathan John

Western Bulldogs banner

The All-Australian vice-captain and AFLPA MVP compiled his most consistent season and could poll the maximum votes in as many as nine games. His aura shimmered in home wins over West Coast, Gold Coast, St Kilda and Melbourne, and in three trips to Adelaide and Perth. He is a chance to poll in several close losses, too. Bontempelli has averaged 28 disposals, nearly seven inside 50s and 5.5 clearances, his career-best output dovetailing with the Dogs’ dominance. The 25-year-old has also kicked 25.16. He has historically polled well, tallying 20 votes in 2016, 19 in 2017 and 22 in 2019. This may be the year he franks an already-glittering resume with the ultimate individual recognition.

Another strong poller who had his most prolific and impactful season with the ball, earning his third All-Australian blazer.

Nathan John

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