Gary-Ablett

The AFL’s night of nights is finally here; the 2013 Brownlow Medal.

Many would have thought earlier in the season Gary Ablett would have had his name already etched onto the back of the 2013 Brownlow Medal, but now it would appear as many as three or four other players could be in the running to topple Ablett.

Standing in ‘Gaz’s’ shadow heading into tonight’s Brownlow count stand the likes of Joel Selwood, Scott Pendlebury, Dane Swan and even Sam Mitchell. It remains to be seen if one can step out and snatch the medal from Ablett’s grasp.

Injuries, form slumps and voting history all play a part in predicting the winner. What is your prediction for tonight’s count?

The following players listed below are those I predict will finish inside the top five, and among them the top contenders in the running to claim the highly coveted Brownlow Medal.

Following on from that is the official BFGN Phantom Brownlow Count Top 10, as well as the voting breakdown for each of the 18 teams.

Nathan Fyfe*

The young shaggy haired Fremantle midfielder sure catches the eye when he takes the field, and it’s obvious he catches the eye of the umpire too. At first glance, his polling history might not seem overly impressive given Fyfe has only polled in 14 of his 51 career games prior to this season. But look closer and it’s obvious to see that when he does poll votes, he polls very well; with Fyfe polling maximum three-vote games in seven of those 14 games.

Fyfe’s potential danger inhibiting his chances of polling most votes for Fremantle comes in the form of Michael Barlow. It must be noted, however, last year Barlow played as equally effective a season as this year but only polled one vote. Given their stark contrast in polling history, if all pans out like previous years, Fyfe should romp it in for most votes at Freo.

Of course, Fyfe heads into the count with the ineligible asterisk hanging over his head, but make no mistake he will poll very well and push for a spot inside the top five. He is certainly one to watch from 2014 onwards.

PREDICTED VOTES POLLED: 19-23 votes.
PREDICTED FINISHING RANGE: 5th-10th.

Dane Swan/Scott Pendlebury

As has been the case over the past few Brownlow Medal Counts, Swan has gone head-to-head with Pendlebury in the battle for most votes at Collingwood and beaten him comprehensively by 10 votes in the past two years. Personally, I enjoy watching Pendlebury more than Swan, but wearing my ‘umpires hat’ as an impartial observer it’s very hard to split these two once again.

I am predicting a tie between both players, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Pendlebury turn the tide and perhaps poll one or two votes more than Swan. It wouldn’t surprise to see either player cause an upset and topple Ablett or Selwood for the Brownlow, particularly Swan given he has out-polled Pendlebury with ease and stolen his votes over the years. Either way it pans out, I predict both players will poll inside the top five at the very least.

PREDICTED VOTES POLLED: 21-29 votes.
PREDICTED FINISHING RANGE: 1st-4th.

Joel Selwood

The standout aspect of Selwood is the fact he is a perennial poller, much like Ablett, Judd, and Mitchell. He has polled 89 votes over 135 matches, which is an amazing statistic in itself and highlights his polling ability.

Selwood’s season was very much the opposite to Ablett’s in that he had a slow start, but ran into some blistering form in the latter half of the season. He is a massive chance at beating Ablett – and probably has the greatest chance out of all the contenders – but may need to pick up some extra votes here and there in order to catch him, given the lead Ablett would have had on him come mid-season.

PREDICTED VOTES POLLED: 26-29 votes.
PREDICTED FINISHING RANGE: 1st-2nd.

Gary Ablett

“I declare the winner of the 2013 Brownlow Medal; Gary Ablett of the Gold Coast Suns” is what I’m fully expecting Andrew Demetriou to be announcing once all the votes have been read out… but his win will not decided until the conclusion of round 23.

Heading into the final round, I predict Selwood will be leading by one or two votes and it will take Ablett’s best-on-ground performance against the Giants in round 23 to help him leapfrog the Cats skipper and secure his second ‘Charlie’.

Ablett had a phenomenal start to the year, and should be leading the count quite comfortably at the halfway mark of the season on around 20 votes. From round 13 onwards, however, I predict his polling will drop off dramatically given there are really only two major polling games he should net the three votes in – round 17 against Collingwood and round 23 against GWS. This may come back to bite him if Joel Selwood polls votes in the games he is expected to, and even more so if Selwood picks up an extra vote or two in some of his polling games he could be in serious trouble.

It wouldn’t be a shock to see Ablett toppled, and his flirtation with form later in the season could be his undoing. But his blistering form earlier in the year should have helped build a sizeable lead and be enough to help him hold on towards the end of the count.

PREDICTED VOTES POLLED: 26-29 votes.
PREDICTED FINISHING RANGE: 1st-2nd.

SMOKEY PREDICTION: Sam Mitchell.

He has been talked up in recent weeks as a potential ‘smokey’ Brownlow winner, and it really gained momentum when well-renowned ‘Brownlow King’, also known as Sean Brady, featured on the AFL Footy Show and revealed Mitchell was his top tip for this year’s medal. Ever since then Mitchell’s price at betting agencies has plummeted from as much as $21 in to $5, with the wider footballing public, punters and media jumping on his bandwagon.

Whilst my own Phantom Brownlow Count only has Mitchell pushing for the top five at best, he cannot be underestimated given he has finished as a surprise runner-up in the past two years. What this indicates is that he is a renowned poller, and the type of player whose game style catches the umpires eye.

The only possible drawback to Mitchell’s Brownlow aspirations this year is he spent a considerable amount of time switching between playing in the middle and on the half-back-flank – a position where he is out of the umpire’s direct line of sight in comparison to playing in the centre.

However, make no mistake, he is Hawthorn’s biggest poller and his polling ability is testament to that. If any of the ‘outsiders’ apart from the likes of Selwood, Pendlebury and Swan can cause an upset, it will be Mitchell.

PREDICTED VOTES POLLED: 21-29 votes.
PREDICTED FINISHING RANGE: 1st-7th.

Top 10 
29 – G. Ablett
27 – J. Selwood
25 – S. Pendlebury
25 – D. Swan
23 – N. Fyfe*
23 – K. Jack
22 – S. Mitchell
21 – R. Griffen
20 – J. Watson
19 – P. Dangerfield

MOST TEAM VOTES:

Adelaide:
19 – P. Dangerfield
12 – R. Sloane
10 – S. Thompson
8 – R. Douglas
4 – B. Crouch
3 – T. Lynch

Brisbane:
17 – T. Rockliff
11 – P. Hanley
6 – M. Leuenberger
6 – S. Black
5 – D. Zorko
4 – J. Redden

Carlton:
9 – K. Simpson
9 – C. Judd
8 – M. Murphy
8 – B. Gibbs
7 – J. Garlett
6 – B. Mclean

Collingwood:
25 – S. Pendlebury
25 – D. Swan
8 – S. Sidebottom
5 – T. Cloke
5 – H. O’Brien
3 – L. Ball

Essendon:
20 – J. Watson
8 – D. Heppell
6 – B. Stanton
5 – M. Hibberd
5 – D. Zaharakis
4 – J. Carlisle

Fremantle:
23 – N. Fyfe
14 – M. Barlow
12 – D. Mundy
8 – M. Walters
7 – H. Ballantyne
4 – C. Mayne

Geelong:
27 – J. Selwood
16 – S. Johnson
11 – J. Bartel
9 – M. Stokes
9 – A. Christensen
7 – S. Motlop

Gold Coast:
29 – G. Ablett
8 – D. Prestia
5 – J. O’Meara
3 – H. Bennell
3 – D. Swallow
2 – J. Brennan

GWS:
5 – J. Cameron
3 – C. Ward
2 – L. Whitfield
2 – D. Shiel
1 – D. Smith
1 – T. Scully

Hawthorn:
22 – S. Mitchell
18 – J. Roughead
16 – L. Hodge
6 – B. Sewell
5 – G. Birchall
5 – J. Lewis

Melbourne:
5 – N. Jones
2 – S. Byrne
1 – J. Watts
1 – J. Grimes

North Melbourne:
10 – D. Wells
10 – B. Harvey
7 – D. Petrie
6 – J. Ziebell
6 – L. Hansen
5 – A. Swallow

Port Adelaide:
19 – T. Boak
13 – B. Ebert
10 – C. Wingard
10 – H. Hartlett
8 – J. Westhoff
3 – K. Cornes

Richmond:
17 – T. Cotchin
14 – B. Deledio
13 – D. Martin
11 – D. Jackson
6 – B. Ellis
4 – J. Riewoldt

St Kilda:
12 – L. Montagna
9 – N. Riewoldt
9 – J. Steven
5 – N. Dal Santo
5 – D. Armitage
2 – F. Ray

Sydney:
23 – K. Jack
18 – D. Hannebery
11 – J. Kennedy
10 – J. McVeigh
9 – R. O’Keefe
5 – A. Goodes

West Coast:
17 – M. Priddis
7 – D. Cox
5 – C. Masten
5 – N. Naitanui
5 – L. Shuey
4 – S. Selwood

Western Bulldogs:
21 – R. Griffen
16 – T. Liberatore
8 – A. Cooney
4 – M. Boyd
3 – J. Grant
3 – M. Talia