“I declare the winner of the 2014 Brownlow Medal, Joel Selwood of the Geelong Football Club” are the words I expect to announced when the final votes are read out at the conclusion of the Brownlow count.
As predicted by the BFGN Brownlow Leaderboard to the tee last year, Joel Selwood led Gary Ablett by two votes, only for the Suns champion to acquire maximum votes for a scintillating performance and leapfrog the voteless Geelong captain to claim his second Brownlow Medal.
In eerily mirrored circumstances, the BFGN Brownlow Leaderboard predicts Selwood to be level on votes with Ablett going into the final round. From there, Selwood is expected to poll in Geelong’s final game against Brisbane and be awarded the 2014 Brownlow Medal outright.
Who do you see winning the medal this year? Can Selwood seek revenge on Ablett as predicted? Can ‘Gazza’ hold on to win his third medal, or will someone else bob up and snatch the AFL’s most esteemed award from under their noses?
Look out over the next few days in the lead up to the count for a full rundown and analysis of my top contenders, and of course the much anticipated release of my most team votes tally for each side.
Collingwood vs. Hawthorn
Sam Mitchell looked in fine touch as his side went to work on a brave Collingwood outfit. He finished with 30 disposals (13 contested), eight marks, 10 clearances, one rebound 50, two tackles and two inside 50s.
As has been a common theme over the past month and bit, Jordan Lewis could again feature in the votes on the back of yet another strong performance consisting of 34 disposals (nine contested), 11 marks, four clearances, two rebound 50s, three tackles, six inside 50s and 1.1.
Jack Gunston proved that he is building his fitness and starting to hit top form once more with 5.1 among 23 disposals and nine marks.
3. S. Mitchell
2. J. Lewis
1. J. Gunston
Others in contention: J. Gibson, J. Roughead.
Carlton vs. Essendon
Brock McLean was relentless all match and was a standout. He finished with 30 disposals (10 contested) seven marks, three clearances, three rebound 50s, five tackles, three inside 50s and one goal.
Chris Judd was headed for maximum votes for a majority of the match before he faded late in the game. He should, however, still find himself amongst the voting calculations with 28 disposals (12 contested), four marks, seven clearances, one rebound 50, three tackles and six inside 50s.
Forgotten man Matthew Watson played his first game in months for Carlton, and it was clearly a game he had to have in order to save his career. After traditionally being played as a defender, Watson was played up forward and returned dividends, kicking four goals to go with 16 disposals, four marks and three inside 50s.
3. B. McLean
2. C. Judd
1. M. Watson
Others in contention: P. Ryder, D. Heppell.
Fremantle vs. Port Adelaide
Lachie Neale was by far the best Fremantle performer, carrying the midfield to help his side hold on for a narrow win over Port Adelaide. He finished with 34 disposals (17 contested), seven marks, six clearances, one rebound 50, five tackles and three inside 50s.
Surprisingly Robbie Gray was allowed to roam free and tear Fremantle to shreds, with the all-rounder kicking 2.3 and racking up 33 disposals (13 contested), four marks, nine clearances, one rebound 50, one tackle and five inside 50s.
Jay Schulz was the superior forward on the day, kicking six goals along with 15 disposals, eight marks, two tackles and three inside 50s.
3. L. Neale
2. R. Gray
1. J. Schulz
Others in contention: M. Walters, H. Hartlett.
Sydney vs. Richmond
The task was simple for Richmond: defeat Sydney and they make the finals for a second consecutive year. Brett Deledio was one such player who helped make that dream come to fruition, racking up 29 disposals (11 contested), five marks, three clearances, one rebound 50, five tackles, five inside 50s and three goals.
Alex Rance was simply superb in the defensive half for Richmond, taking game-saving marks on numerous occasions in the last quarter when Sydney had the chance to steal the win. He finished with 16 disposals, seven marks, six rebound 50s, three tackles and one inside 50.
Dan Hannebery was one of the standout performers for Sydney, accumulating 33 disposals (13 contested), five marks, five clearances, three rebound 50s, 10 tackles, five inside 50s and 1.1.
3. B. Deledio
2. A. Rance
1. D. Hannebery
Others in contention: L. Parker, N. Malceski, B. Ellis.
North Melbourne vs. Melbourne
Andrew Swallow was crucial to North Melbourne’s engine room and looked the most effective. He finished with 21 disposals (16 contested), one mark, 10 clearances, one rebound 50, eight tackles and eight inside 50s.
For Melbourne, youngster Dom Tyson battled valiantly to finish with 24 disposals (10 contested), seven marks, seven clearances, three rebound 50s, five tackles, four inside 50s and two goals.
Jack Ziebell also put in a solid effort, kicking two goals to go with 17 disposals (12 contested), three marks, five clearances, eight tackles and two inside 50s.
3. A. Swallow
2. D. Tyson
1. J. Ziebell
Others in contention: D. Wells.
Geelong vs. Brisbane
Tom Hawkins had a day to remember, and will certainly be one the umpires won’t forget in a hurry, kicking a career-high 7.2 to go with 17 disposals, 10 marks, three tackles and one inside 50.
Joel Selwood would have been hoping to put in a performance that attracts votes to help him win the Brownlow outright, and he may just have it. He stood out like a sore thumb, racking up 29 disposals (16 contested), six marks, six clearances, nine tackles, six inside 50s and 2.1.
Mitch Duncan also looked solid for a majority of the match, finishing with 35 disposals (10 contested), eight marks, seven clearances, one rebound 50, four tackles and seven inside 50s.
3. T. Hawkins
2. J. Selwood
1. M. Duncan
Others in contention: J. Bartel, J. Caddy.
Gold Coast vs. West Coast
Josh Kennedy ended the season in superb form, making a late charge for the Coleman, but the deficit between himself and Lance Franklin proved too great. He finished with 8.2 and 12 disposals, seven marks and three tackles.
Nic Naitanui was handy both in the ruck and when he pushed forward, kicking 3.1 to go with 12 disposals, three marks, three clearances, 28 hitouts, six tackles and two inside 50s.
Luke Shuey was another standout, finishing with 27 disposals (14 contested), five marks, nine clearances, one rebound 50, three tackles, seven inside 50s and one goal.
3. J. Kennedy
2. N. Naitanui
1. L. Shuey
Others in contention: C. Masten, M. Lecras, M. Rischitelli.
Adelaide vs. St Kilda
Rory Sloane was let off the leash, and he rightly punished St Kilda with 30 disposals (15 contested), nine marks, eight clearances, one tackle, six inside 50s and three goals.
Eddie Betts was at his slippery best, racking up 17 disposals, five marks, two tackles and kicking 5.1.
Brodie Smith also had an overabundance of the footy, accumulating 34 disposals (13 contested), five marks, two clearances, six rebound 50s, four inside 50s and one goal.
3. R. Sloane
2. E. Betts
1. B. Smith
Others in contention: S. Jacobs.
Western Bulldogs vs. GWS
Despite the close loss, Ryan Griffen was in scintillating form and should be in line for maximum votes. He finished with 38 disposals (16 contested), six marks, 13 clearances, five rebound 50s, five tackles, 11 inside 50s and 1.1.
Will Hoskin-Elliott was a revelation up forward, kicking five goals among 15 disposals, six marks, one tackle and one inside 50.
Toby Greene was another beacon of hope for the ever-improving Giants, finishing with 32 disposals (13 contested), eight marks, seven clearances, three rebound 50s, five tackles, four inside 50s and one goal.
3. R. Griffen
2. W. Hoskin-Elliott
1. T. Greene
Others in contention: D. Shiel, H. Shaw, M. Boyd.
BFGN Brownlow Leaderboard:
27 J. Selwood
25 G. Ablett
24 N. Fyfe*
24 R. Gray
19 J. Kennedy
19 M. Priddis
18 S. Pendlebury
18 L. Franklin
18 T. Rockliff
18 S. Johnson*