The Brownlow Medal seems all but wrapped up after another best on ground performance by Gary Ablett on the weekend. At this stage, a more relevant discussion may be who will come second on Brownlow night. Every club has players who could potentially have their names high up on the leaderboard.
Adelaide: Patrick Dangerfield seems to be the most likely contender. After a slow start to the year, Dangerfield’s last month will probably gather him eight to 10 votes with possibly three best on ground performances. Dangerfield also stands out well to the umpires and has a history of polling well, recording votes in 10 games last season. Rory Sloane has also flown under the radar with quite a few good performances this year.
Brisbane: Despite having their worst year in a very long time, Brisbane has a legitimate Brownlow threat in Tom Rockliff. Rockliff has had a very good year and consistently records high disposal numbers, which previous Brownlow history shows leads to decent polling. However, Brisbane’s big losses this season will probably hinder his chances.
Carlton: Captain Marc Murphy appears the most likely to get the umpires’ attention again this year. Murphy has had two best on ground performances, and since the loss to Melbourne, he will have collected around seven votes. Bryce Gibbs has also had a couple of best on ground performances but his consistency will hamper him from polling very well.
Collingwood: Collingwood have multiple players who poll well. Scott Pendlebury, Dane Swan and Dayne Beams will all be up there with Beams a good chance to top the list of Pies and a legitimate threat to take out second place. Swan hasn’t had a year comparable to the previous two and will probably poll well below them.
Essendon: Captain Jobe Watson is once again likely to finish runner up. Jobe has had at least two best on ground performances and obviously has a history of polling well. However, young gun Dyson Heppell has had some excellent games this season and might surprise a few on Brownlow night.
Fremantle: The Dockers are hard to analyse. The obvious choice, Nathan Fyfe, is suspended, and Michael Barlow has missed a chunk of the season through injury. The big man, Aaron Sandilands, may actually be Fremantle’s leading vote scorer with David Mundy and Michael Johnson another two who have played well.
Geelong: Joel Selwood started the year incredibly well, with three best on ground performances in the first month. Selwood’s biggest problem is the quality of the players around him, guys like Steve Johnson and Jimmy Bartel, who will take votes off of him.
Gold Coast: Dion Prestia seems likely to live in the shadow of Gary again this season. That’s not a bad thing whatsoever – it’s a very nice shadow and it’s a shadow cast over every player this season. David Swallow has also had an excellent year, and has had games that would definitely get the umpires’ attention.
Greater Western Sydney: The captain Callan Ward has had an outstanding year and in all likelihood will lead the Giants’ Brownlow votes. Ward will be hampered by the Giants position on the ladder but also by young guns Adam Treloar and Devon Smith who have had standout games this season.
Hawthorn: The injury-ravaged Hawthorn seem likely to be without a genuine contender this season. With continual Brownlow bridesmaid Sam Mitchell out for an extended period of time as well as Luke Hodge and Cyril Rioli, Hawthorn’s Brownlow stocks may solely lie in Shaun Burgoyne who has had two best on ground performances and may jag a vote here and there.
Melbourne: Nathan Jones has once again stood out as Melbourne’s best player and with a few more wins on the board, may stand a chance this season. Young star Dom Tyson will also poll well having multiple standout games this season.
North Melbourne: The evergreen Brent Harvey would probably stand as North’s leading vote getter at the moment. Harvey has had multiple best on ground performances as well as being the type of player to catch the umpire’s eye. Ben Cunnington and Sam Gibson also stand as smokies to poll as North’s best players having very good seasons so far with the high disposal numbers that grab the umpire’s attention.
Port Adelaide: Port has a number of players who will poll well. Their incredible season will see Travis Boak, Brad Ebert, Jared Polec, Robbie Gray and Hamish Hartlett all poll well. Obviously they’ll steal votes from each other, which may restrict them from reaching the top of the leaderboard, but there will be a lot of teal on that board.
Richmond: The Tigers have had a forgettable 2014 and that’ll be reflected on Brownlow night. Captain Trent Cotchin started the year well and could even have three best on ground performances early on, but Richmond’s failures this season will probably prevent him from getting near the likes of Dangerfield or Selwood.
St Kilda: The Saints probably have the only key forward in the competition with a legitimate chance of finishing second on Brownlow night. Nick Riewoldt was all but the in-form player of the competition before the New Zealand clash. Riewoldt probably has two or three best on ground performances to his name at this stage.
Sydney: The Swans have found their feet in the last few weeks but one man who has been consistent all year is Josh Kennedy. Kennedy is a serious chance to finish top three in the Brownlow and may even give Ablett a run for his money. Dan Hannebery has also improved recently and should also poll well. An outsider would also be Luke Parker who has had an outstanding and consistent season.
West Coast: The Eagles have destroyed a few teams this year, and that’ll help their polling on Brownlow night, but their inconsistency will prevent the likes of Matt Priddis and Luke Shuey from having much impact. Matt Rosa is another one who should poll in a few games.
Western Bulldogs: Former skipper Matthew Boyd has flown under the radar this season but would have polled in a few games, with at least one best on ground performance. Jack Macrae has broken out this season and could also poll well on Brownlow night.
Second place rarely gets recognised, but at this stage the favourites for the coveted second place would have to be either Josh Kennedy from Sydney or Patrick Dangerfield from the Crows. Though it seems Ablett has the medal all but won, stranger things have happened, and any of these men could leave Crown Casino with the Charlie around their neck.