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Opinion

My club-by-club Brownlow Medal guide

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16th October, 2020
7

Who might have caught the umpires’ eye at your club? This is my Brownlow prediction for all 18 teams.

Adelaide
Rory Laird 8
Matt Crouch 3
Reilly O’Brien 3
Lachie Sholl 3
No contest here, Laird was brilliant in their wins.

Brisbane
Lachie Neale 26
Jarryd Lyons 11
Dayne Zorko 8
The Lions’ mids are an even bunch after Neale, with Hugh McCluggage and Jarrod Berry also on seven. Zorko polls well, but played more forward this year. Lyons had some big games.

Carlton
Sam Walsh 11
Patrick Cripps 9
Ed Curnow 5
Remarkably, Cripps might not win the Blues’ count. He had very few dominant games, although Walsh is relying on some of his votes coming in losses.

Collingwood
Taylor Adams 14
Scott Pendlebury 11
Adam Treloar 7
A 50-50 between Adams and Pendlebury, as the umpires could potentially take a year to give Adams his due recognition. Steele Sidebottom (six votes) always gets a few random twos and threes, but had an injury-riddled year.

Taylor Adams of the Magpies is congratulated by teammates

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Essendon
Zac Merrett 13
Andy McGrath 8
Dylan Shiel 7
Merrett usually wins the Bombers’ count and this year will be no exception. McGrath is now a B+ midfielder and should get close to Merrett. Jordan Ridley (three votes) won the best and fairest, but generally isn’t a high disposal winner.

Fremantle
Nat Fyfe 12
Andrew Brayshaw 9
Michael Walters 7
David Mundy 7
Fyfe didn’t have his best year, as the likes of Brayshaw and Adam Cerra (four votes) stepped up in supporting midfield roles. Luke Ryan (six), who took a huge number of contested intercept marks, may poll as well as any defender.

Geelong
Patrick Dangerfield 15
Cam Guthrie 13
Tom Hawkins 11
Despite playing just as well as last year, Dangerfield won’t get as many votes in 2020. He was more consistent, but had fewer dominant games, while Guthrie and Sam Menegola (ten votes) stepped up in the midfield. Menegola could poll even better, but holds a low profile.

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Gold Coast
Matt Rowell 9
Touk Miller 6
Hugh Greenwood 4
Remarkably, Rowell probably got enough votes in his first ever three games to win their count. He doesn’t have much room for error though, so Miller or Greenwood could steal the win if Rowell misses out on one of his threes.

GWS
Toby Greene 9
Lachie Whitfield 9
Josh Kelly 7
A very disappointing season for the Giants shows in their votes, with no one expected to receive more than ten. Greene had some big games in the first half of the season, and should battle Whitfield for top votes.

Hawthorn
Chad Wingard 9
Tom Mitchell 6
Jack Gunston 6
This is one of the more surprising results, with Mitchell only managing six votes in my count. He could easily beat Wingard though if the umpires don’t fully reward Wingard for his scintillating early season form.

Melbourne
Christian Petracca 18
Max Gawn 15
Clayton Oliver 9
Petracca has a wide voting range. He could go close to Neale due to his flashy and powerful game style, but he also didn’t have many games where he was a clear best on ground. Oliver tends not to poll as well as Gawn, though Oliver rose to a new level this year.

Christian Petracca

(Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

North Melbourne
Jed Anderson 7
Todd Goldstein 6
Jy Simpkin 4
Shaun Higgins 4
It was slim pickings for my team unfortunately. Simpkin had some outstanding games, but Anderson was better in wins.

Port Adelaide
Travis Boak 20
Ollie Wines 13
Tom Rockliff 10
Wines polls well and could steal enough votes off Boak to hand Neale the win. Rockliff was also very good late in the season, while Charlie Dixon (eight votes) and Zak Butters (five) were the pick of the non-midfielders.

Richmond
Dustin Martin 17
Shai Bolton 8
Kane Lambert 7
In a very even side, Martin was the only standout. Bolton, possibly the AFL’s most improved player, so often broke through the midfield with pace and agility.

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St Kilda
Jack Steele 17
Zak Jones 10
Rowan Marshall 8
Jack Billings 8
Jones’ pace and bald head should get him lots of votes in the first half of the season. He was almost as good as Steele in that period, but Steele continued his good form throughout the whole year. Goal-kicking ruckmen get votes, and Marshall is one of the best.

Sydney
Luke Parker 11
Isaac Heeney 6
Jake Lloyd 5
Tom Papley 5
Josh P Kennedy is usually among the top two for Sydney, but I could only find two votes for him this year. Heeney was a match-winner in Rounds 1 and 3 before succumbing to injury. It will be interesting to see how Lloyd goes as the AFL’s number three for disposals.

West Coast
Nic Naitanui 13
Tim Kelly 8
Josh J Kennedy 8
Liam Ryan 8
This is perhaps the most intriguing leader board, as the influential Naitanui goes up against a group of prolific midfielders including Kelly, Andrew Gaff (seven votes) and Dom Sheed (six). Kennedy and Ryan each have a few certain vote games, but are capped at about ten votes.

Nic Naitanui

(Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Western Bulldogs
Marcus Bontempelli 16
Jack Macrae 13
Caleb Daniel 6
Bontempelli storms home to overtake Macrae in my count. Daniel is a good chance for third, but Bailey Smith (four votes) just missed out on several occasions, so his long hair could easily get him a few bonus votes.

Round 10 leader
Lachie Neale 26
Travis Boak 12
Jack Macrae 11

Best first-year player
Matt Rowell 9
Lachie Sholl 3
Noah Anderson 2

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Best forward
Tom Hawkins 11
Toby Greene 9
Liam Ryan 8
Josh J Kennedy 8
Charlie Dixon 8

Best defender
Nick Haynes 6
Daniel Rich 6
Luke Ryan 6
Caleb Daniel 6

Best ruckman
Max Gawn 15
Nic Naitanui 13
Rowan Marshall 8

Overall
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. Zach 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