WITH only one month left in the AFL regular season we still don’t have a real clear cut favourite for the Brownlow Medal. There are a bunch of players that would have polled somewhere around 20 votes at this point of the year, with the chance to propel themselves into pole position with a flurry in the last month. Which star is going to do so though?
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Patrick Cripps, Carlton Blues
IN my eyes, Cripps is still the man to catch this year for ‘the Charlie’. Despite health issues and a lack of form hampering his case in the middle of the season, Crippa has been at his best again in the last few weeks, with two BOG performances in his last three outings. If he can keep this pace up with Carlton remaining competitive he’ll undoubtedly poll well over the final month of the season and remain squarely in the mix.
Tim Kelly, Geelong Cats
PUNTERS who splashed out on Tim Kelly early have high hopes that he can continue his darling season. He has fallen off a tad in recent times after bursting out of the gates to start 2019. With Geelong rolling to 11 wins in their first 12 games a lot of votes will be coming in his way from the pre-bye rounds, leaving Kelly as the one to catch in a lot of people’s eyes.
Brownlow favourite Tim Kelly celebrates his 25th birthday today. He wouldn’t be the youngest player to win the league’s highest individual honour, but with 40 #AFL games to his name he’ll certainly be one of the quickest 🏃♂️ #WeAreGeelong pic.twitter.com/gVzHM5tHGt
— SportsbyFry (@sportsbyfry) July 26, 2019
Lachie Neale, Brisbane Lions
THE popular pick to have polled the most votes after every team’s mid-season break, Neale and the Lions have roared into form at the right time of year. A ‘strength in numbers’ approach has been a big reason for their climb up the ladder, but Neale has clearly been a major factor in Brisbane’s success. The ball magnet is posting the second-highest disposal average of his career (31.5) and if the Lions can hold onto a top-2 selection then Neale may reap the benefits from their high ladder positioning.
Patrick Dangerfield, Geelong Cats
ANNUALLY there are one or two teams with plenty of players who steal votes from one another. Geelong is commonly mentioned in this conversation and there’s no doubt that a few Cats will once again feature near the top of the vote tally by seasons end. 2016 saw a Geelong player lead the pack with Dangerfield claiming the medal and he may finish in the same spot this season. He hasn’t been at his dynamic, match-winning best with as much regularity as he was in 2016, but with Danger peaking at the right time, there’s every chance he polls close to double-digit votes in Geelong’s final four contests.
Nat Fyfe, Fremantle Dockers
SIMILARLY to Cripps, Nat Fyfe’s chance to win the league’s highest individual honour in 2019 suffered throughout the middle portion of the year. With Fremantle’s season falling in a heap after the bye round and Fyfe’s elbow plaguing his output, there aren’t many games in which he would have accumulated votes from around Round 10 onwards. There’s a chance he can win his second Brownlow with a furious finish to the season, but the Dockers can’t afford to be on the end of many more drubbings if this is going to come to fruition.
BEST OF THE REST
Tim Taranto, GWS Giants
WITH his teammates dropping like flies around him, Tim Taranto has been a galvanising force for GWS this season. Elevating his play to an All-Australian level in his third season ahs seen Taranto become a fantasy darling and in turn, he’s bound to attract some Brownlow attention.
Brodie Grundy, Collingwood Magpies
I’VE already had my say on why Grundy should be considered as a legitimate threat this year. Collingwood’s man-mountain has only got better, enhancing his claim for the title of the best player in the league. The Pies haven’t helped his cause recently, but Grundy’s performances have meant he’ll still demand voters attention, regardless of the result of the game.
Josh Dunkley, Western Bulldogs
THERE are a lot of Bulldogs expected to see votes come their way with Jack Macrae and/or Marcus Bontempelli leading most betting markets for the most by a Dogs player. However, let’s not sleep on Josh Dunkley, who in the second half of the season has had some outrageous performances. One or two more such games could see his hat well and truly enter the ring.
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Max Gawn, Melbourne Demons
SEASON 2019 hasn’t gone according to plan for Melbourne, with Max Gawn’s performances one of the lone bright spots for the Dees. Tall timber hasn’t fared greatly in recent Brownlow counts, but times are a-changing which gives Demons fans some hope of seeing Maximus on the podium with a shiny new medal.
Travis Boak, Port Adelaide
A fast start to the season had Travis Boak firmly in the conversation as the Brownlow favourite. Port’s rollercoaster season won’t do great things for Boak’s genuine chances of winning the Brownlow, but by no means should he be dismissed altogether. There’s a scenario where they get it together and storm into the finals, which could see the 31-year old pull off a memorable victory.
Luke Shuey/Elliot Yeo, West Coast Eagles
I honestly couldn’t split this duo with AFL.com’s Brownlow Predictor currently handing most of the votes to Dom Sheed. However, in a few contests this year both Shuey and/or Yeo have thrown the team onto their backs and will likely see three votes coming their direction following those Herculean efforts. If the Eagles can win out and one of these two ups the anti, they could be a late bolter.
Dustin Martin, Richmond Tigers
THE 2017 winner can’t actually win the medal this year thanks to his Round 3 antics against the Giants. There’s no reason why Dusty still can’t top the voting for this season, especially if Richmond can maintain their current torrid pace. With some friendly fixtures to close out the year, if Martin can put forth more performances like he did last Friday against the Magpies, he could join the unfortunate club of players who win the vote count and are ineligible to claim the medal.
THERE are a handful of players who I could see claiming this year’s medal, with no clear cut favourite in my eyes at the time of typing. However, I think most of the heavy hitters who own the shortest odds are going to keep up their form, making it hard for others to catch them. Cripps and Fyfe could wrestle ‘Charlie’ away from the other hopefuls and given Carlton’s new breed of footy, I’m backing the young superstar to finish at the top of the voting tally. Fyfe will be hurt by being on the end of some hefty losses to close Fremantle’s campaign while I think my pre-season pick Patrick Dangerfield has left his run too late. One thing’s for sure though, it’s going to be bloody close.
1st – Patrick Cripps
2nd – Nat Fyfe
3rd – Patrick Dangerfield (tie)
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