Selwood the real Brownlow smoky

Dem Panopoulos Roar Rookie

By Dem Panopoulos, Dem Panopoulos is a Roar Rookie

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    The race for the Brownlow Medal is all but over. Well, that’s what most believe.

    Everyone loves a smoky, which has seen plenty of different players thrown around as potential challengers.

    Andrew Gaff’s name has been bandied around and thanks to the last fortnight, there is some merit to it. At best, he is placed fourth in my personal count and he could continue to rise quickly as he looks to lead West Coast to a top-four position.

    Max Gawn has been seen as one of the better non-Mitchell options, having averaged 17 disposals, 46 hitouts and 1.5 scoring shots per game as of the end of Round 16.

    Fellow ruckman Brodie Grundy is enjoying an outstanding season as well, averaging 21 disposals, five tackles and 38 hitouts up to the same points.

    The impact these players are having has been spoken about in the highest regard, however the Brownlow count hasn’t necessarily reflected well on ruckmen in the past. While both should be on double-figured votes by now, I feel neither are in serious contention.

    Patrick Cripps and Shaun Higgins are popular picks at the moment, but neither are true contenders for the game’s top prize.

    Cripps plays for the worst team in the competition which is enough to rule him out, while Higgins’ popularity has only increased recently, and media attention tends to have an impact, regardless of whether anyone likes to admit it.

    One player coming home like a steam train is Dayne Beams. Of course it has been an extremely difficult time personally for Beams, however from a pure on-field perspective, his last eight weeks have been phenomenal.

    Dayne Beams

    Dayne Beams of the Lions (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

    All his votes could potentially come from Round 9 onwards, and the best case scenario sees him polling 14 votes these seven games. He has averaged 30 disposals, six marks, six clearances and kicked ten goals in this period of time, which includes an absolute shocker against Essendon.

    Beams can’t win the Brownlow from here, but he could poll the most votes in the final 14 games of the season.

    In the end, however, there is one obvious player that has been ignored by all tipsters, who has surged into second place on my count.

    Joel Selwood has polled at least 13 votes in every season of his career, bar his first.

    Geelong’s captain is a future hall-of-famer, a definite legend of the Geelong Football Club, and their best player at the moment.

    Selwood’s numbers have been great again this year – averaging 27 disposals, six tackles, five marks and five clearances per game.

    Despite his historically elite goal assist numbers being well down this season, Selwood’s match-winning ability has been at an all-time high.

    The Brownlow Medal rewards one of two things – dominant performances or standout bursts.

    History suggests inside midfielders tend to meet these measurements, which is why Mitchell is a huge favourite, and why you shouldn’t sleep on Selwood.

    It has been a very consistent season for the 30-year-old, who has dropped below 25 disposals just twice, and below five tackles on just three occasions in 15 games.

    He is the Geelong player that cops the hard tag, and his ability to work through it and have a definitive impact on games, particularly in the second half, is extremely noticeable.

    Selwood’s uncontested possession numbers have increased considerably, which is a key part of the Brownlow formula.

    The past three winner of the Brownlow have been Nat Fyfe, Patrick Dangerfield and Dustin Martin. All three are bulls on the inside and have a fantastic ability to spread from the contest and run through the opposition.

    This is what Selwood has developed in 2018.

    He is averaging a career-high in rebound 50s, and this season marks his best uncontested-to-contested possession ratio since 2010.

    In a year where Geelong is fighting for a finals spot, and with the midfield heavily reliant upon him thanks to Patrick Dangerfield’s role in the team, Selwood is finally emerging as a genuine Brownlow chance.

    Patrick Dangerfield Joel Selwood Geelong Cats AFL 2016 tall

    Patrick Dangerfield (left) and Joel Selwood of the Cats (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    He will have eight votes from a possible 12 in Rounds 13-16 and should finish off strongly given the situation that the Cats face.

    Hawthorn’s easier run should see the club make finals, and it will almost certainly be led by Tom Mitchell.

    The young Hawk, however, is one indiscretion away from being ineligible for the vote. He may find it hard to break the heavy tag too, given it has been effective in the past.

    The Brownlow door is slightly ajar for a number of players, and most will suggest Gaff, Gawn, Grundy, Cripps and Higgins are the key chances.

    This isn’t the time to sleep on Geelong’s skipper, given his strong history in the Brownlow Medal.

    It would be a fitting way to celebrate one of the all-time great careers in this game of ours.

    Joel Selwood is a genuine chance for the Brownlow and it will become clear in the coming weeks.

    Dem’s Brownlow Medal top five (average votes)
    1. Tom Mitchell – 22
    2. Joel Selwood – 19
    3. Nat Fyfe* – 18
    4. Andrew Gaff – 15
    5. Jackson Macrae – 13
    Clayton Oliver – 13
    Dayne Beams – 13

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    The Crowd Says (23)

    • July 10th 2018 @ 8:57am
      Pete said | July 10th 2018 @ 8:57am | ! Report

      I haven’t heard of Selwood be mentioned in the Brownlow conversation, but that’s probably because of the high amount of players that can take votes off him. When you look at his stats, it’s actually not a bad shout, although surely he can’t be getting anywhere near the likes of Gaff and Cripps, let alone Mitchell.

    • July 10th 2018 @ 9:00am
      Pete said | July 10th 2018 @ 9:00am | ! Report

      I haven’t heard Selwood’s name enter the conversation, so for you to have him as a genuine contender is extremely surprising. With the quality around him, I find it hard to believe he’ll challenge the likes of Gaff or Cripps (I’m a Carlton supporter and think he’s been fantastic), let alone push Mitchell for the medal.

      • Roar Guru

        July 10th 2018 @ 9:09am
        Peter the Scribe said | July 10th 2018 @ 9:09am | ! Report

        Cripps would win if playing for even a middle road side but in a side who sit 1-14 with a % of 62.2 it seems very unlikely. I think Sidebottom is a better roughie than Selwood.

    • July 10th 2018 @ 9:15am
      jacques from Lilydale said | July 10th 2018 @ 9:15am | ! Report

      Selwood is a media darling, to the average supporter he wouldn’t pass the pub test. No one likes a ducker and he launches himself head first in to every contest, gets too many frees and generally antagonises every supporter that way. Cripps is a fine player and he should be there or thereabouts, not sure about Tom Mitchell, how do the umpires see him? He gets the ball a lot, but is not an elite disposer of it. Too open to call at the moment.

      • Roar Guru

        July 10th 2018 @ 9:30am
        JamesH said | July 10th 2018 @ 9:30am | ! Report

        Aren’t we supposed to laud a player who launches himself head first into every contest? That’s a good thing for an inside mid. Even those who don’t like his tactics of drawing high contact have to admit he’s a gun.

        Anyone who thinks Cripps is going to come close to winning is off their rocker. He’ll poll a handful of 1-vote games in losing causes, with a few 2s thrown in. The lack of 3-vote matches will hurt him badly though. Hard to see him getting more than a couple of those at best.

        • July 10th 2018 @ 9:47am
          Rissole said | July 10th 2018 @ 9:47am | ! Report

          In the last two counts it’s become apparent that the umpires don’t mind giving three votes to a player on the losing side if they are the best player on the ground. That might give him a chance.
          In regards to Selwood, I believe players are supposed to hit the contest side-on, not head first or feet first (sliding).

          • Roar Guru

            July 10th 2018 @ 2:06pm
            JamesH said | July 10th 2018 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

            The problem for Cripps is that most of Carlton’s losses have just been too big for him to get 3 votes. Too many floggings and not enough ‘honourable losses’. There comes a point where you just aren’t getting the 3, no matter how well you played.

            As for Selwood – players have always been applauded for putting their head over the ball. Side on is safer, but that definitely doesn’t mean Selwood is doing the wrong thing by going in head first. It’s been the best way to win the ball for 120 years.

      • July 10th 2018 @ 2:20am
        Pope Paul VII said | July 10th 2018 @ 2:20am | ! Report

        It’s curious. Lindsay Thomas and Adam Goodes (well that was one of the excuses) were vilified in the official media and didn’t pass the old pub test for playing for frees. Selwood meanwhile is revered despite his high frees for count.

        • July 10th 2018 @ 1:07pm
          db said | July 10th 2018 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

          The difference is Selwood usually doesn’t take himself out of the contest. (i.e falling neck first into an at) he tends to be trying to break the tackle and plays advantage

          • July 10th 2018 @ 2:19pm
            Pope Paul VII said | July 10th 2018 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

            Can’t see any difference when the aim is to snag a free.

    • July 10th 2018 @ 9:26am
      Robert said | July 10th 2018 @ 9:26am | ! Report

      Surely Dangerfield and Dusty will poll well again, the umpires clearly love them and both have been impacting the scoreboard this season! These past winners are all due a love-in by the umpires.

      • July 10th 2018 @ 1:02am
        Dem Panopoulos said | July 10th 2018 @ 1:02am | ! Report

        Dusty being among the favourites for long periods this season is laughable, Cotchin will poll similarly and Lambert should have at least 6-7 at this stage. Mix in with the fact Martin’s been solid at best this season, it’s not a possibility.

        Dangerfield should poll more than Dusty but again, he hasn’t really stood out. Playing forward has hurt him and the team.

    • Roar Rookie

      July 10th 2018 @ 9:37am
      Pedro The Fisherman said | July 10th 2018 @ 9:37am | ! Report

      Where does Robbie Gray sit in the reckoning?

      • July 10th 2018 @ 9:50am
        Dem Panopoulos said | July 10th 2018 @ 9:50am | ! Report

        Port has a nice spread, personally have him and Wines equal on about 11 votes each. Gray had that hype a few years ago and failed to collect a heap of votes. If he can get some more midfield time in the back end of the season, he could certainly push top 8, although it seems unlikely.

        • Roar Rookie

          July 10th 2018 @ 1:18am
          Pedro The Fisherman said | July 10th 2018 @ 1:18am | ! Report

          I think that umoires have a penchant for 3 things when handing out Brownlow votes:
          1) Stats (regardless of effectiveness)
          2) impact on the game / the “match winner”
          3) how Brownlow votes (or the lack of) have been perceived by the media and the public in the past

          I think that Gray is generally low on item 1 but is a match winner (on several occasions) and is perceived as not having got the votes he deserves in the past.
          For me he is a genuine prospect to win it (and is in a winning team).
          PS: I am no Port fan (far from it) but think that Robbie Gray is an absolute superstar whom I wish played for my team!

          • Roar Guru

            July 10th 2018 @ 1:37am
            Peter the Scribe said | July 10th 2018 @ 1:37am | ! Report

            Someone wrote that Robbie Gray is out of contract, is that right? How did they let happen, the guy is a gun.

    • Roar Guru

      July 10th 2018 @ 1:26pm
      Peter the Scribe said | July 10th 2018 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

      Only Stefan Martin and Cripps ahead of Selwood in the “frees for” category in 2018. Geelong rely on these frees in close. Selwood third with 43 frees already this year, Dangerfield 5th with 37.

      • July 10th 2018 @ 2:12pm
        Dem Panopoulos said | July 10th 2018 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

        Since 2007, only Dane Swan has won the Brownlow averaging less than 1 free kick per game, and Nat Fyfe is the only other player to win the medal averaging less than 1.2 per game.

        Frees for aren’t the most important measure for the Brownlow, but it’s almost certain to add votes to a player’s tally. Historically been the case for Selwood and can be even more influential in 2018.

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