SINCE the early ’90’s there haven’t been too many ruckmen that have put their hands up as serious Brownlow Medal threats. By no means am I throwing shade at the likes of Dean Cox and Todd Goldstein, but traditionally speaking, tall timber usually struggles to contend for the AFL’s highest individual honour. However, as Brodie Grundy continues to monster opponents this season, most AFL betting sites are constantly shortening his odds with a realistic chance he will become the first ruckman in over 25 years to claim ‘the Charlie’.
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IT comes as no surprise to see Grundy in the mix for this year’s Brownlow. There are serious debates raging around the country over the Collingwood star not only being the best ruckman in the game but perhaps the best player in the entire AFL. With over 120 games of experience under his belt now, Grundy’s game has only continued to grow this season, recording more disposals than Isaac Heeney and Jack Ziebell while accounting for more total clearances than Dylan Shiel, Patrick Dangerfield and Jack Macrae in 2019.
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GRUNDY’S dominance stretches far beyond ruck contests, with the unique ability to be a monster around stoppages. The new rules that allow ruckman to grab the ball straight out of a ball-up/throw-in situation have helped him and other elite rucks immensely, contributing to his higher disposal and clearance tally. That hasn’t stopped the 25-year old from having an influence in the hitout battle, on average posting 42.5 hitouts a game. If he keeps up that unreal pace Grundy would post the 7th highest amount of hitouts over the duration of a season in the AFL’s history.
GOING off the AFL’s Brownlow Medal predictor through 15 games Grundy will have recorded 15 votes, with a possibility that number could be higher. He will all but certainly demand the maximum six votes through his two games against the Bulldogs, in which he averaged 24 disposals, 54 hitouts and 160.5 AFL Fantasy points, with potential best-on-ground performances also coming against the Saints, Blues and Swans. After polling 17 votes in last year’s Brownlow count, there’s a chance that Grundy’s career year could see him have that many votes already with two months of footy still left to be played.
IN their remaining eight games Collingwood and Brodie Grundy still have to square off against some pretty noteworthy ruck foes, including another showdown with fellow colossus Max Gawn in Round 21. If he can steal some votes in that contest and overcome some other ruckmen like Jarrod Witts, Ben McEvoy and Nic Naitanui then Grundy will be right in the mix for a Brownlow W.
FELLOW contenders like Patrick Dangerfield and Tim Kelly could pinch a few votes off each other, Nat Fyfe is a suspension risk every time he steps onto the field thanks to his bullocking style of play and Patrick Cripps could be sidelined for another few weeks. There’s a few other players he’ll need to outpace like the aforementioned Gawn, but Grundy’s ability to single-handedly change the outcome of a game should see him contend for the medal right up until the end of the 2019 season.
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