The mid-season meta-Brownlow top 36

Gordon P Smith Roar Pro

By , Gordon P Smith is a Roar Pro

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    Those readers familiar with my weekly wonderings and wanderings are probably also familiar with my tracking of the ‘meta-Brownlow’.

    It’s tallied by compiling the votes from a plethora of different sources following each round, including game-day best and fairest, team-of-the-round declarations, and as many of the 3-2-1 style post-game player evaluations as I can find.

    The goal is to simulate the consensus of the various player of the year awards: not just the Charlie but like the articles in vogue here at mid-season, the mid-season All Australian projected team.

    (As if that matters as much as a single sock with an extra hole in it. But it’s amusing, and I play along.)

    Except that, being American, I prefer to present them not as top 22s or 25s, but as we do our All American teams: a first team of 18 starters, and a second team of 18 on the imaginary depth chart.

    So, using only the point totals from the first half of the season as the defining criteria, here are my first and second teams of the just-over-half-a-season:

    First team
    Defence: Rory Laird (180 points), Alex Rance (165), Jason Johanissen (123), Sam Docherty (111), Dylan Roberton (110), and Shaun Burgoyne (103).
    Midfield: Dustin Martin (323 points), Rory Sloane (311), Patrick Dangerfield (304), Joel Selwood (273), Scott Pendlebury (246), and Elliot Yeo (221).
    Ruck: Brodie Grundy (119).
    Forwards: Lance Franklin (184), Toby Greene (148), Joe Daniher (140), Charlie Dixon (139), and Jeremy Cameron (137).

    Second team
    Defence: Zac Williams (102), Jeremy Howe (100), Zach Tuohy (97), Michael Hurley (97), Michael Hibbard (96), and Robbie Tarrant (94).
    Midfield: Josh Kelly (203), Zach Merrett (171), Ollie Wines (181), Marcus Bontempelli (174), Gary Ablett Jr (171).
    Ruck: Sam Jacobs (112).
    Forwards: Josh Kennedy (135), Eddie Betts (126), Jack Riewoldt (125), Tom Lynch (119), Shaun Higgins (117), Taylor Walker (105).

    (Since rucks can either be midfield or forward, but rarely defence, I chose to take the ruck spots one from each category – 11 mids, 11 forwards, two rucks.)

    Blondes have more fun, and midfielders get all the votes. As much as I try to balance my scoring system to counteract this tendency, it’s hard to imagine a forward winning an MVP award without kicking a century or more. And it’s hard to imagine a defenceman doing so without bribing everyone doing the voting.

    I’m so glad I wasn’t doing this from a place of personal preference. It was so tempting to fudge numbers to move players I like into place, but that’s not the point (the best example: I would take Kelly and Betts on my team in a heartbeat, and figure out who to cut later. But that’s not what the numbers say).

    I did pro-rate point totals to even out the teams that have and have not had their bye yet, however (Jeremy McGovern of the Eagles was the only player who lost his spot because he was passed by someone with more points-per-game).

    There are only two teams not represented here: Brisbane (sure), and Fremantle (hmmm, well…). I found it incredible to realise that not a single member of a 6-6 team is in our top 36 players. But the Dockers are about as soft a .500 team as you’ll see, carrying the fourth-worst percentage in the contest at 78 per cent; this is pretty indicative of that.

    Greater Western Sydney has two first teamers and two ‘first off the bench’ in the second team, but Adelaide is the only team with five representatives in total. Given those two teams’ dominance in 2017, that seems apros pos.

    After a blazing start, Sloane has now been passed by Dusty the Tiger for the lead in the meta-Brownlow race. It’s the first lead of the season for Martin, and the first time Rory hasn’t led since his fourth consecutive dominant performance, after Round 6.

    Since I mentioned dominant performances, or games where a player is recognised as outstanding by at least 90 per cent of the sources I monitor, now’s a good time to mention that Sloane still leads that count, with five dominants plus one ‘prominent’ (80-plus per cent recognition). Dangerfield has four dominants and two prominents; Martin and Selwood both have four and one. Yeo and Pendlebury are the only other men with three dominant performances in the first half of the season.

    The current top vote-getter from each team
    Adelaide – Rory Sloane
    Brisbane – Dayne Beams
    Carlton – Marc Murphy
    Collingwood – Scott Pendlebury
    Essendon – Zach Merrett
    Fremantle – Lachie Neale
    Geelong – Paddy Dangerfield
    Gold Coast – Gary Ablett Jr
    GWS – Josh Kelly
    Hawthorn – Tom Mitchell
    Melbourne – Clayton Oliver
    North Melbourne – Ben Cunnington
    Port Adelaide – Ollie Wines
    Richmond – Dustin Martin
    St Kilda – Jack Steven
    Sydney – Lance Franklin
    West Coast – Elliot Yeo
    Western Bulldogs – Marcus Bontempelli

    Team-by-team breakdown of the first and second teams
    Adelaide – Laird, Sloane; Betts, Jacobs, Walker
    Carlton – Docherty
    Collingwood – Grundy, Pendlebury; Howe
    Essendon – Daniher; Hurley, Merrett
    Geelong – Dangerfield, J.Selwood; Tuohy
    Gold Coast – Ablett, Lynch
    GWS – Cameron, Greene; Kelly, Williams
    Hawthorn – Burgoyne
    Melbourne – Hibbard
    North – Higgins, Tarrant
    Port – Dixon; Wines
    Richmond – Martin, Rance; Riewoldt
    St Kilda – Roberton
    Sydney – Franklin
    West Coast – Kennedy, Yeo
    Western Bulldogs – Johannisen; Bontempelli

    And an off-topic footnote: Using the current betting lines and assuming the favoured team will win every game from here on out (and after Round 12, that’s obviously a terrible assumption!), not only would Sydney make finals, they would be in the eight just three weeks from now!

    The eight finalists under these assumptions would be Adelaide, GWS, Geelong, Western, Port, and Sydney, with Richmond and West Coast taking the last two slots over St Kilda on percentage only.

    In order behind those nine would be: Essendon, Fremantle, Collingwood, Melbourne, North, Gold Coast, Hawthorn, Carlton, and Brisbane, who as of now would be the underdog all 22 times this season.

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