The mid-season meta-Brownlow top 36

Gordon P Smith Roar Guru

By Gordon P Smith, Gordon P Smith is a Roar Guru


8 Have your say

    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.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (8)

    • Roar Guru

      June 14th 2017 @ 1:07pm
      JamesH said | June 14th 2017 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

      Interesting. You’ve got 6 mids and only 5 forwards in the first team tho – is that deliberate?

      • Roar Guru

        June 15th 2017 @ 2:11am
        Gordon P Smith said | June 15th 2017 @ 2:11am | ! Report

        Yes. I mentioned that I used a forward position on one team for the ruck and a midfield position on the other. In order to keep it to 18 on a team. I thought squeezing out one of each was fairer than, say, naming 10 mids and 12 frontmen.

    • June 14th 2017 @ 4:05pm
      CCT said | June 14th 2017 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

      Great article… thank you. Just by way of making you aware of colloquial quirks, I’ve never heard nor seen anyone before refer to the Bulldogs as Western. It makes sense, but it doesn’t work…They were Footscray. Some bright spark changed their name to try to induce support from a broader base – the under-represented western suburbs of Melbourne. Out of politeness, the rest of us have stopped calling them Footscray, at least in print. But Western is a step too far. If you need to abbreviate, it has to be Bulldogs.

      And – unfortunately perhaps – such things are culturally important. I still have family members who refuse to clap foreign clubs (even the nice clubs from SA (Port) and WA (Freo) as much as the clubs made up by marketers or sold into slavery in other states) against the most hideous hateful and contemptible of Victorian clubs (yes, of course I mean Hawthorn), even when a foreign win would help their own club’s cause. For these folk, the Bulldogs should be … are… Footscray. That said, they’ll accept the Bulldogs. But Western means nothing.

      • Roar Guru

        June 14th 2017 @ 5:20pm
        Cat said | June 14th 2017 @ 5:20pm | ! Report

        But when you are calling the rest of the sides by their location, rather than nickname, Western it is. Either have to use nicknames, locations or both. However, its poor writing to use same name multiple times in succession.

        • June 14th 2017 @ 6:32pm
          Kavvy said | June 14th 2017 @ 6:32pm | ! Report

          If you’re trying to be technical, i.e. ignoring common usage/norms, then ‘Western’ is meaningless, it would need to be “Western Suburbs” or “Western Melbourne”. Which is why noone says it standalone, it’s always “Western Bulldogs” for this reason (that “Western” doesn’t mean anything standalone).

          • Roar Guru

            June 14th 2017 @ 9:06pm
            Cat said | June 14th 2017 @ 9:06pm | ! Report

            I’m not arguing that it is a stupid name, it most definitely is. If you are going to say western Bulldogs then you should say Hawthorn hawk, Collingwood magpies, Sydney swans etc. All full names or all shortened the same way.

            • June 14th 2017 @ 10:08pm
              Kavvy said | June 14th 2017 @ 10:08pm | ! Report

              But Collingwood is a place as is Sydney and Hawthorn. Western means nothing. Even West Coast has some definity about it. That’s why noone says Western, it hangs there waiting to be finished

    • Roar Guru

      June 15th 2017 @ 2:45am
      Gordon P Smith said | June 15th 2017 @ 2:45am | ! Report

      I’ve looked at this nomenclature issue for as long as I’ve watched the game, and it’s one of those things that I think we’ve simply ingrained into our skulls. A major American university in the “Big Ten” conference (which of course has 14 teams, because America) is named “Northwestern”. The Northwestern Wildcats are no longer north or west of anything particularly significant, except that back in the 1800s when it was founded on the outskirts of Chicago, it was on the northwest edge of the US. Nevertheless, it’s still simply called “Northwestern” without irony. (And the U of Michigan sings that they’re the “champions of the west”. Ridiculous.)

      So when I see “Western” as a team “location” name, I think nothing of it, because I haven’t followed footy long enough to have followed them as Footscray (I first discovered my sport of passion around the year 2001 or so). However, my two-letter abbreviation isn’t WE or WS… it’s always WB. Looking back, I also notice they were the only team I added the mascot to on the last two tables (the current best and fairest; top 36 players from each roster).

      I guess I’m saying, don’t get too worked up over the name.

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.