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Opinion

Who led my Brownlow count after the final round?

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12th October, 2020
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Here’s who led my Brownlow medal count after the home-and-away season.

Round 17

West Coast beat St Kilda
3. Tim Kelly
2. Nic Naitanui
1. Andrew Gaff

Kelly swivelled and circled his way through to finish off a classy performance with a clutch snap that put the Eagles in front late. Naitanui’s last quarter was a game-changer, while Gaff was dominant on a wing. Jack Steele could poll for St Kilda.

Richmond beat Geelong
3. Jack Riewoldt
2. Dylan Grimes
1. Dustin Martin

Richmond are always hard to pick with such an even side. Riewoldt and Grimes should contend for three votes, influential at either end. Martin couldn’t quite put the cherry on top of his influential bursts forward, but might just beat the flashy Daniel Rioli for a vote.

Fremantle beat North Melbourne
3. Nat Fyfe
2. Jesse Hogan
1. Michael Walters

Fyfe flew for marks like a gazelle, and could get up to three votes. Hogan was clinical with his six disposals, booting four straight goals. Walters continued his return to form, while Matt Taberner was also dominant up forward.

Port Adelaide beat Essendon
3. Tom Rockliff
2. Ollie Wines
1. Travis Boak

Boak gets himself in close contention for the major prize, but Rockliff and Wines had more of the ball this time round. Charlie was a monster up forward but couldn’t kick straight.

Melbourne beat GWS
3. Max Gawn
2. Christian Petracca
1. Clayton Oliver

Gawn had a big last quarter as the Dees held on to both the win and their finals hopes. Petracca was also fantastic, dominating at the stoppages. Youngster Tom Green and lookalike Oliver will contend for votes.

Adelaide beat Carlton
3. Lachlan Sholl
2. Rory Laird
1. Bryce Gibbs

Another win for Adelaide! Laird was once again central, though it was Sholl who stole the show with 625 metres gained and two goals. Gibbs’ last game was a good one, collecting 27 disposals off half-back.

Western Bulldogs beat Hawthorn
3. Marcus Bontempelli
2. Caleb Daniel
1. Jack Macrae

Tom Liberatore and Bailey Smith also had influential games, which makes this game tricky to tip. Bontempelli mostly won the ball at clearances, making him a big chance for top votes. Meanwhile, Daniel’s ball use was sublime, and he slotted a goal himself.

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Brisbane beat Sydney
3. Daniel Rich
2. Jarryd Lyons
1. Luke Parker

Rich kicked with precision and Lyons found the footy with ferocity. Lyons’ goal could get him three votes, but I’ve opted for Rich’s blond locks. Parker was instrumental to Sydney’s early run.

Collingwood beat Gold Coast
3. Jordan de Goey
2. Adam Treloar
1. Jack Crisp

De Goey rampaged his way through to bring Collingwood into finals, with the help of Mason Cox’s contested marking up forward. The pacy Treloar and Crisp were crucial in breaking the game open.

Round 18

West Coast beat St Kilda
3. Andrew Gaff
2. Liam Ryan
1. Jed Anderson

Gaff took advantage of Yeo’s and Shuey’s absence with a strong contested midfield display. Although North Melbourne’s Anderson, Jy Simpkin and Luke Davies-Uniacke won the overall midfield battle. Ryan was the difference in attack alongside Oscar Allen.

St Kilda beat GWS
3. Jack Steele
2. Hunter Clark
1. Rowan Marshall

Steele was so easily best on ground that he could get all six votes! I’m taking a punt on Clark’s long hair for two votes, while Marshall finished the game with a bang.

Melbourne beat Essendon
3. Max Gawn
2. Christian Petracca
1. Ed Langdon

Gawn and Petracca were dominant once again, but Langdon is also a contender for top votes after mopping up everything on the outside. Bailey Fritsch and Jayden Hunt were potent up forward and could sneak votes.

Richmond beat Adelaide
3. Dustin Martin
2. Shane Edwards
1. Kane Lambert

Dusty was spectacular and could sneak into the top five overall. Edwards returned to the side in fine style, while Lambert kicked a goal in a typically industrious display.

Brisbane beat Carlton
3. Daniel Rich
2. Lachie Neale
1. Sam Walsh

Rich finished the home-and-away season in style with two goals among 22 disposals. Neale confirmed his place at the top of the count – Charlie, your home is all but confirmed! Walsh’s contested work was remarkable for a second-year player.

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Hawthorn beat Gold Coast
3. Jack Gunston
2. Tom Mitchell
1. Liam Shiels

Paul Puopolo and Ben Stratton stole the show with four goals between them in their farewell games, but might just miss out on the votes. Gunston was prolific and perhaps unlucky to miss out on All Australian selection, finishing equal third in the Coleman at a bottom four side.

Geelong beat Sydney
3. Patrick Dangerfield
2. Tom Stewart
1. Josh Kennedy

Dangerfield turned a lacklustre first half into a heroic second, and will surely finish with three votes. Stewart, Kennedy and Sam Menegola were solid and should share the remaining votes.

Western Bulldogs beat Fremantle
3. Tom Liberatore
2. Lachie Hunter
1. Nat Fyfe

Liberatore was huge and powered the Doggies over the line, while Hunter had the ball on a string. It’s a 50-50 between Fyfe and Tim English, who both kicked two goals, for the one vote. I think Fyfe will get a few bonus votes over the course of the night.

Port Adelaide beat Collingwood
3. Tom Rockliff
2. Dan Houston
1. Robbie Gray

In Travis Boak’s last chance to challenge Lachie Neale, it’s unlikely he will make the votes. Rockliff was dominant in the middle alongside the dynamic Robbie Gray. Houston was a rock in defence. For the Pies, Taylor Adams and Scott Pendlebury were effective but couldn’t do enough to get Collingwood’s forward line functioning.

Leaderboard

1. Lachie Neale – 26 votes
2. Travis Boak – 20
3. Christian Petracca – 18
4. Dustin Martin – 17
4. Jack Steele – 17
6. Marcus Bontempelli – 16
7. Max Gawn – 15
7. Patrick Dangerfield – 15
9. Taylor Adams – 14
10. Zac Merrett – 13
10. Jack Macrae – 13
10. Ollie Wines – 13
10. Cam Guthrie – 13
10. Nic Naitanui – 13
15. Nat Fyfe – 12
16. Scott Pendlebury – 11
16. Luke Parker – 11
16. Tom Hawkins – 11
16. Jarryd Lyons – 11
16. Sam Walsh – 11

Neale would need to have really annoyed the umpires to not win this year’s count. In fact, he might break the record for votes per game by a winner, as he was the clear standout in a team that won most games. Boak was similarly impressive in a top side, but had fewer dominant games. Petracca may well finish even closer to Neale if he’s rewarded for his powerful game style, but Gawn and Oliver will steal some votes off him in Melbourne’s wins.

Dangerfield may also be a contender for second place if Guthrie and Menegola get underpolled. My smokie for top three is Ollie Wines – he always polls well and there are plenty of wins for him to pick up votes!

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