THE AFL Fantasy season is behind us, but there is still hardware to be awarded! I’m sure in the future I will come up with a much more catchy title for this honour, but for now, the Brownlow will have to do. I have completed the arduous task of awarding votes in the traditional 3-2-1 format for all 396 games played this season, with some mainstream names finishing at the top of the charts. However, with only one vote separating first and second and the same margin separating second and third, this year’s SBF fantasy Brownlow count was a lot closer than most people would have expected.
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WHEN it came to handing out votes this season, I didn’t just default to awarding the votes to the three highest scorers in each game. Much like the Brownlow Medal itself, the votes were dependant on the outcome/margin of the game, how much a player impacted the contest rather than just chalk up numbers in a losing effort and most importantly, I tried to (sort of) steer votes to players who were fantasy relevant and had a higher ownership percentage.
- I released my DT Talk rookie/cash cow awards last week with some deserving winners handed shiny trophies. When it came to awarding the rookie MVP, both Sam Walsh and Reilly O’Brien put forth compelling cases, so it’s no surprise to learn that duo topped the vote tally in my Brownlow count as well. ROB polled the most rookie votes with 9 to Walsh’s 7, while Xavier Duursma (2 votes), Dylan Clarke (2 votes), Connor Rozee (2 votes), Charlie Constable (1 vote), Marty Hore (1 vote) and Bailey Scott (1 vote) were the other youngsters who polled.
- SINCE his bye round Jack Macrae stood head and shoulders above the rest of the competition, polling the most votes in the second half of the season by far. Over his final 11 games, as the Bulldogs found form and stormed into finals contention, Macrae chalked up a whopping 19 votes!
- POPULAR forward James Worpel polled all 10 of his votes in the last third of the season, including 8 votes in the fantasy finals. Those who chose to start the year with the Worpedo and stick it out were handsomely rewarded.
Image from theaustralian.com.au
- THE highest scorer for 2019 Brodie Grundy led the way with 9 best-on-ground performances this year. He beat out Dangerfield (7 BOG’s) and Dogs duo Jack Macrae and Josh Dunkley (6 BOG’s) for the most 3-vote outings.
- SPEAKING of best-on-ground honours, surprising Lions MID Jarryd Lyons compiled 5 BOG honours among his 19 votes. That was more 3-vote calibre games than the likes of Nat Fyfe, Dustin Martin Adam Treloar and Marcus Bontempelli.
- BIG scores throughout the fantasy finals are what coaches covet and some huge point totals led to some standout performers over the final month of the season. There was a three-way tie for the most votes polled over this years’ finals with Shaun Higgins, Matt Crouch and James Worpel all accumulating 8. Not far behind them was Jack Macrae and Patrick Dangerfield with 7.
- DESPITE not finishing in the top-5 for total votes this year, Adam Treloar tied Jack Macrae for the most games in which he polled a vote with 12. In total, 13 players polled a vote in 10 or more games.
THE TOP FIVE
5th – Max Gawn (24 votes)
COACHES who opted for a Grundy/Gawn combo to start the year in the ruck department probably made a wise choice. Maximus did have some frustrating moments throughout the year, but overall the towering Demon had another stellar season, rewarded with his second consecutive All-Australian nod and his third overall. Gawn’s votes came through sporadically during the year and if Melbourne were more competitive in a few games he would have pushed for a higher placing.
4th – Josh Dunkley (26 votes)
WHO would have thought after Dunkley’s sluggish start of the season he’d finish the year as one of fantasy’s best. Dunks scored the 5th most fantasy points in 2019, despite averaging just 77.5 from his opening six games, in which he failed to poll a single vote. He raced to form with back-to-back 3 vote performances in Rounds 7 & 8 and maintained his unreal numbers to close out the season. If the Dogs’ midfield wasn’t so stacked, he would have threatened the top handful to take out ‘the Charlie’.
3rd – Patrick Dangerfield (28 votes)
MOST coaches first picked forward this year was Patrick Dangerfield, who, despite his up’s and down’s turned out to be a smart investment. Of course, I don’t want to discuss the week he scored 38 as a popular captain choice in Round 7, or when he dropped just 65 points against Freo, but those bitter pills were bearable for owners given his supreme stats across the rest of the year. Polling in 11 games and possessing the ability to get 1 or 2 sneaky votes even when he wasn’t at the peak of his powers makes Danger the favourite (in my eyes) to win the actual Brownlow in a few weeks time.
2nd – Jack Macrae (29 votes)
I so badly wanted Jack Macrae to pull this off. As I was counting the votes through the second half of the season I noted that Macrae’s name was bobbing up a lot, making me glad I traded the Bulldogs star into my team off his bye. With just 10 votes from 10 games in his opening half, Macrae owners were frustrated with the expensive Dog only to see him turn it around after a week off. There’s no reason why he won’t put up similar superstar numbers again in 2020.
1st – Brodie Grundy (30 votes)
IT won’t shock you to see Grundy’s name listed as the highest vote-getter in 2019, however, his path to get there wasn’t as straight forward. Heading into the final round of the year, Grundy actually trailed Macrae in the voting by two after Jack managed to poll in five consecutive games from Round 18 to Round 22. However, a 149 point outing against Essendon later, Grundy took the lead and held on to win a thrilling count. It’s fitting that the best player from a numbers perspective walks away with the league’s highest individual fantasy honour for the year and I’m sure he’ll be the most selected player for coaches when a new season begins six to seven months from now.
YOUR CLUBS TOP 3 VOTE-GETTERS
Adelaide Crows – Brad Crouch (18), Matt Crouch (17), Rory Sloane (11)
Brisbane Lions – Lachie Neale (21), Dayne Zorko (21), Jarryd Lyons (19)
Carlton Blues – Patrick Cripps (18), Nic Newman (11), Sam Walsh (7)
Collingwood Magpies – Brodie Grundy (30), Adam Treloar (22), Scott Pendlebury (12)
Essendon Bombers – Zach Merrett (23), Dylan Shiel (9), Dyson Heppell/Michael Hurley (5)
Fremantle Dockers – Nat Fyfe (22), Michael Walters (14), Bradley Hill (7)
Geelong Cats – Patrick Dangerfield (28), Mitch Duncan (22), Tim Kelly (18)
Gold Coast Suns – Brayden Fiorini (12), Jarrod Witts (7), Touk Miller (5)
Greater Western Sydney Giants – Tim Taranto (18), Stephen Coniglio (16), Josh Kelly (15)
Hawthorn Hawks – Ricky Henderson (17), Jaeger O’Meara (11), James Sicily/JamesWorpel (10)
Melbourne Demons – Max Gawn (24), Clayton Oliver (14), Angus Brayshaw (7)
North Melbourne Kangaroos – Shaun Higgins (15), Jack Ziebell (13), Ben Brown (5)
Port Adelaide Power – Travis Boak (20), Tom Rockliff (13), Ollie Wines (7)
Richmond Tigers – Bachar Houli (20), Dustin Martin (18), Dion Prestia (7)
St Kilda Saints – Jack Steele (13), Jack Billings (12), Seb Ross/Rowan Marshall (9)
Sydney Swans – Jake Lloyd (22), Isaac Heeney (10), Josh Kennedy/Luke Paker (9)
West Coast Eagles – Elliot Yeo (18), Andrew Gaff (18), Dom Sheed (13)
Western Bulldogs – Jack Macrae (29), Josh Dunkley (26), Marcus Bontempelli (18)
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