If Collingwood had won the 2018 grand final, things would’ve been different for Nathan Buckley.
It’s time to share data on the individual races for the Brownlow Medal, and the All Australian team.
We’re providing a couple of different compilations of the data we’ve collected from the 23 sources we started the season with (we’re down to 21, because two have quit publishing their post-match opinions; sadly, they were both the same kind – Team of the Week – which is skewing our data away from defenders).
First, there are the overall vote-point totals, which combine all the info from those TotWs, Brownlow-style voting, 3-4-5 stars of the game, player ratings, fantasy point tallies, and so forth.
But to highlight the kind of voting that the Brownlow Medal uses, I’ll also share with you a list of our color-coded, top four players of the game point totals with some observations about how those might give us information towards those Brownlow night results.
Every number is through just the first 11 rounds for every player, so there’s an even playing field.
1.Clayton Oliver 381.5 pts (4 1st, 2 2nd, 0 3rd, 3 4th) = 29 colour points (1st)
So, let’s use our leader, Clayton Oliver, as an example. His total score from all 21-23 sources over 11 games comes to 381.5 points, 21 ahead of his Bulldog rival and miles ahead of everyone else.
But that’s designed in part to cover all the bases – not just separate the Olivers from the Marcus Bontempellis but the steady regular from the marginal semi-regular, as well.
So, to more closely emulate the Brownlow voting, we use this colour code on our spreadsheets of death to easily spot the outstanding players in each game: blue for first, red for second, green for third, yellow for fourth.
We go to four places because the fickleness of human taste forces it – so often we’ll see one evaluator say, “Wow, Oliver was hands down the best player on the field!” while another will put him third, fourth, or leave him off their list altogether.
So this is our attempt to balance that with the actual format of the Brownlow vote.
No matter how you slice it, though, Oliver’s our leader.
2. Marcus Bontempelli, Western Bulldogs 360.5 points (5 1st, 0 2nd, 0 3rd, 0 4th) = 25 colour points (2nd)
3. Darcy Parish, Essendon 322 points (5 1st, 0 2nd, 0 3rd, 0 4th) = 25 colour points (2nd)
Note the gap between these two superstars and Oliver.
While they’ve had five dominant games out of 11 – an amazing total – Oliver had four plus five other top-notch games, making nine of 11 where he was inarguably one of the best players on the field.
That consistency makes him the top player in the AFL in 2021. Even if we’d used a strict 3-2-1 Brownlow point system, Oliver still leads by 16 to 15 after Round 11 over both men. (The tally adding up all four of the ‘semi-pure’ Brownlow systems we include – some cheat and split up half-votes – produces the same top three in the same order.)
All three men played in Round 12 – Parish and Bontempelli earned the blues for their performances (Parish’s fourth in a row) while Oliver had a fourth place in their team’s win over Brisbane, with Christian Petracca taking consensus best on ground honours.
So with blues worth five and yellows worth one, guess what? All three men are tied at 30 with ten games to go in the colour code Brownlow estimates; Bontempelli moved very slightly in front of Oliver in the overall point count after Round 12, with Parish still a comfortable third.
4. Hugh McCluggage, Brisbane 298.5 points (1 1st, 2 2nd, 2 3rd, 2 4th) = 17 colour points
5. Jack Macrae, Western Bulldogs 291 points (2 1st, 1 2nd, 1 3rd, 1 4th) = 16 colour points
6. Taylor Walker, Adelaide 286 points (3 1st, 0 2nd, 1 3rd, 1 4th) = 18 colour points
It’s worth pointing out that all five of Macrae’s top four performances came within the first six games; he’s scored no colour points since Round 6.
Also, while we could all guess that Walker was rated first universally in each of his first three games, the other two top four ratings came in his two most recent games.
7. Sam Walsh, Carlton 278.5 points (2 1st, 0 2nd, 2 3rd, 3 4th) = 17 colour points
8. Max Gawn, Melbourne 276.5 points (2 1st, 1 2nd, 2 3rd, 0 4th) = 17 colour points
9. Ollie Wines, Port Adelaide 257.5 points (1 1st, 2 2nd, 1 3rd, 3 4th) = 16 colour points
10. David Mundy, Fremantle 256 points (2 1st, 2 2nd, 0 3rd, 1 4th) = 17 colour points
By the way, all five of Mundy’s colour-point games came in Rounds 2-7.
11. Christian Petracca, Melbourne 255 points (0 1st, 3 2nd, 0 3rd, 0 4th) = 9 colour points
12. Zach Merrett, Essendon 254 points (1 1st, 2 2nd, 2 3rd, 1 4th) = 16 colour points
13. Jarryd Lyons, Brisbane 251 points (3 1st, 0 2nd or 3rd, 1 4th) = 16 colour points
14. Touk Miller, Gold Coast 249.5 points (2 1st, 1 2nd, 2 3rd, 1 4th) = 18 colour points
Strange to see a Gold Coast player in front of anyone from Hawthorn, Sydney, or Geelong, isn’t it?
It’ll be stranger still on Brownlow night, because he’s currently equal fourth with Taylor Walker on our colour-point list, and converting it straight across to Brownlow points, they’re still equal fourth, with Max Gawn added into the tie.
Only Gary Ablett Jr. has ever threatened to make some noise on the last Monday of the year wearing the gold and red before this.
15. Cam Guthrie, Geelong 243 points (2 1st, 1 2nd, 1 3rd, 1 4th) = 16 colour points
16. Callum Mills, Sydney 240 points (1 1st, 1 2nd, 2 3rd, 0 4th) = 12 colour points
17. Travis Boak, Port Adelaide 222.5 points (2 1st, 1 2nd, 0 3rd or 4th) = 13 colour points
18. Dustin Martin, Richmond 216 points (3 1st, 0 2nd, 3rd, or 4th) = 15 colour points
19. Jack Steele, St Kilda 215.5 points (1 1st, 2 2nd, 0 3rd, 1 4th) = 12 colour points
20. Toby Greene, GWS 209.5 points (1 1st, 2 2nd, 0 3rd, 1 4th) = 12 colour points
Those are the top 20; we’ll go through the rest of the top 50 more rapidly, if you don’t mind. Ties are broken by colour points:
21. Dayne Zorko, Brisbane 208.5 points, 10 colour points from 4 games
22. Tim Kelly, West Coast 206 points, 11 colour points from 3 games
23. Brodie Grundy, Collingwood 203 points, 10 colour points from 2 games
24. Nic Naitanui, West Coast 201 points, 8 colour points from 4 games
25. Tom Stewart, Geelong 195.5 points, 9 colour points from 4 games
26. Tom Mitchell, Hawthorn 193 points, 11 colour points from 5 games
27. Josh Kelly, GWS 192.5 points, 12 colour points from 4 games
28. Harry McKay, Carlton 191 points, 10 colour points from 2 games
29. Christian Salem, Melbourne 186 points, 12 colour points from 4 games
30. Daniel Rich, Brisbane 185.5 points, 8 colour points from 3 games
31. Darcy Moore, Collingwood 184 points 11 colour from 3 games
32. Jack Darling, West Coast 184 points, 10 colour from 3 games
33. Rory Laird, Adelaide 183 points, 7 colour from 4 games
34. Ben Cunnington, North Melbourne 181 points, 10 colour from 4 games
35. Andrew Gaff, West Coast 178.5 points, 13 colour from 3 games
36. Joel Selwood, Geelong 178.5 points, 11 colour from 3 games
37. Nat Fyfe, Fremantle 178 points, 11 colour from 3 games
38. Mitch Duncan, Geelong 177 points, 10 colour from 3 games
39. Tom Hawkins, Geelong 173 points, 9 colour from 3 games
40. Tim Taranto, GWS 173 points, 7 colour from 3 games
41. Shai Bolton, Richmond 170 points, 8 colour from 3 games
42. Jack Riewoldt, Richmond 168.5 points, 11 colour from 3 games
43. Isaac Heeney, Sydney 168 points, 12 colour from 4 games
44. Karl Amon, Port Adelaide 165 points, 15 colour from 4 games
45. Tom Liberatore, Western Bulldogs 164 points, 7 colour from 4 games
46. Tom McDonald, Melbourne 163.5 points, 9 colour from 4 games
47. Anthony McD-Tipungwuti, Essendon 162 points, 4 colour from 2 games
48. Adam Treloar, Western Bulldogs 161 points, 9 colour from 3 games
49. Jacob Hopper, GWS 161 points, 3 coluor from 2 games
50. Andrew Brayshaw, Fremantle 160.5 points, 8 colour from 3 games
Melbourne and Geelong each have five players in the top 50; the Lions, Giants, Eagles and Bulldogs each have four. On the other end, Gold Coast, Hawthorn, North and the Saints each have just one player present on the list.
Finally, using positions the players actually play, here is the Following Football Mid-Season All AFL team for the first half of 2021, primarily based on the points accumulated as above.
Backs: Jake Lever, Steven May, Darcy Moore, Daniel Rich, Christian Salem, Tom Stewart
Midfielders: Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae, Hugh McCluggage, Clayton Oliver, Darcy Parish
Ruck: Max Gawn
Forwards: Jack Darling, Toby Greene, Isaac Heeney, Dustin Martin, Harry McKay, Taylor Walker.
Starter representation: Adelaide 1, Brisbane 2, Carlton 1, Collingwood 1, Essendon 1, Geelong 1, GWS Giants 1, Melbourne 5, Richmond 1, Sydney 1, West Coast 1, Western Bulldogs 2.
Rather than producing an interchange and emergencies list, here are the next eight players alphabetically as we would take them, trying to balance out positions with point totals.
Interchange: Tom Hawkins, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Zach Merrett, Touk Miller, David Mundy, Christian Petracca, Sam Walsh, Ollie Wines.
Including all 26 players, the consensus team includes players from 15 of the 18 teams; only Hawthorn, North, and St Kilda are unrepresented.