A stunning run through September saw the Giants make their first grand final last year, before they were obliterated by the all-conquering Tigers.
A number of the game’s best players are in the mix for the Brownlow Medal this year, but with no clear favourite, is the chance there for an outsider to come in and steal the whole thing?
To suss out the 2019 Brownlow Medal smokies, we’ve made use of the top-quality number-crunching performed by Stats Insider.
Their Brownlow Medal report includes projections for all the biggest points of interest – not just the winner, but the leaders at different stages of the night, and who’ll get the most votes in each club.
Grundy could arguably be counted among the Brownlow favourites just as much as he is amongst the smokies, if it weren’t for his status as a ruckman.
It’s been more than a decade since a ruckman won the Brownlow, and it’s every chance that we may never see the ‘midfielder’s medal’ given to one again.
Grundy plays like a midfielder though. His 146 clearances is top ten in the league, ahead of players like Adam Treloar, Dion Presita and Patrick Dangerfield.
Dunkley had an incredible finish to the season, recording 30 or more disposals in six of his last seven games, while also producing career-best numbers for clearances, tackles, and score involvements.
He was eye-catching on the field, and at the same time this was backed up by his stat sheet. Having enjoyed a big breakout, he may pick up a decent head of steam late in the count.
Probably more likely if anything to be Angus Brayshaw of 2019.
Boak returned to the midfield this year and was dominant particularly early in the season, recording 30 or more disposals in six of his first seven games.
His numbers were even better than they’ve been in previous career-best season, averaging over 30 disposals for the first time ever, as well as career highs in clearances and metres gained.
He probably didn’t maintain that pace enough as the year went on to come out on top in the count, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him leading it in the early stages.
One of the league’s more underrated players, Yeo had another typically good year in 2019, playing more on the ball than in previous seasons and recording career-best clearance and tackling numbers.
Yeo will face something of an uphill battle to notch votes though in a West Coast team with several midfielders around the same mark. Expect Luke Shuey, in particular, to nab votes from him.
The smokie to end all smokies, Taranto isn’t a household name in the AFL just yet, but did come out on top in three of Stats Insider’s ten thousand simulations.
Unlike other GWS midfielders, Taranto managed to play the full season, and if anything seemed to always step up when there were players missing from the side.
He had 30 disposals 12 times this year, and averaged more than five clearances and six score involvements per game, both career highs.