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The Race for the 2021 AFL “Following Football” MVP: Part 2

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Roar Guru
2nd July, 2021
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2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the last three-time winner of the Brownlow Medal: Ian Stewart won his third Medal in 1971 with Richmond after two with the Saints in 1965-66. Four men won three medals in its first 43 presentations; yet none have done so since!

However, eight different men have secured two awards. Only one of those eight is still active – Fremantle’s Nat Fyfe, the 2015 and 2019 winner. The other seven were Gary Ablett Jr (2009, Geelong & 2013, Gold Coast), Chris Judd (2004, West Coast &; 2010, Carlton), Adam Goodes (2003 & 2006, Sydney), Robert Harvey (1997 &; 1998, St Kilda – the last back-to-back winner), Greg Williams (1986 &; 1994, Sydney), Peter Moore (1979 &; 1984, Melbourne), and Keith Greig (1973 &; 1974, North Melbourne).

The other current players who have won the Brownlow (and could win it again) are the same ones who won over the last half-decade: Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong, 2016), Dustin Mitchell (Richmond, 2017), Tom Mitchell (Hawthorn, 2018), and Lachie Neale (Brisbane, 2020). Coincidentally, those are the six winners of our “Following Football” MVP designation, with the exception of the 2018 title, which went to Max Gawn (Mitchell was second).

In part 1, we started breaking down each team’s list by the votes we collect from 21 disparate sources to measure them. We’ll examine the players in the top 100, list those in the second hundred, and document the number in each century thereafter to see how the depth plays out through the top 600 (there have been 641 players officially appearing in season 2021 so far). The first segment reviewed the top seven clubs in our list of vote-getters; this will complete the ladder starting with the Eagles and continuing through to the ‘Roos at the bottom.

(To help you compare your team with others: in an 18-team league, the average club would have precisely one of the top 18 players, 3 of the top 54, and exactly 5½ of the top 99. There should similarly be about 5½ in each group of one hundred, with the average team having blooded 35 so far this season. Finally, the 18th-highest player for a typical club would average around #315 overall, and the 22nd-highest player would sit around #388.)

8.WEST COAST (ELO-Following Football rating of 49.8; 8th place overall)

Top players (none of the top 18; 4 of the top 54; 6 of the top 99):
#20 Nic Naitanui – 295.5 votes (12 colour points from 6 games).
#44 Tim Kelly – 209 votes (11 from 3).
#46 Jack Darling – 204 votes (10 from 3).
#47 Andrew Gaff – 201 votes (13 from 3).
#61 Dom Sheed – 184.5 votes (9 from 4).
#95 Oscar Allen – 148.5 votes (10 from 2).

The colour points might need refreshing. Once we’ve tallied all the votes and recognitions from a round, we then return to each game and note the four highest scoring players with colour codes: blue (1st), red (2nd), green (3rd), and yellow (4th). Those are designed to resemble what Brownlow voters do, with the fourth recognition meant to allow for a margin of error in the selection process. We weight the colour codes 5-3-2-1 because it gives the top player the same “first equals second plus third” math as the Brownlow.

#100-199 = 5 players (Barrass, Hurn, Kennedy, Redden, and Ryan).
#200-299 = 8; #300-399 = 8; #400-499 = 4; #500-599 = 5.
Total players so far = 36.

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The 18th-highest vote getter at this stage for West Coast is Luke Shuey (who is #299 overall); the 22nd-highest is Brandon Ah Chee (#336 overall). Some of the Eagles who are not among the top 18 right now are Tom Cole, Zac Langdon, Willie Rioli, Nathan Vardy, David Venables, Bailey Williams, Alex Witherden, and Elliot Yeo.

The reasons for low vote totals vary – some players have been out with injuries; some are struggling with form, and some might be “coach’s decision” situations. It doesn’t always mean they’re not ideally among the starting eighteen; they just haven’t been up there this year.

9.GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY (ELO-FF rating of 46.4, 10th overall)

Top players (1 of the top 18; 4 of the top 54; 5 of the top 99):
#16 Toby Greene – 321.5 votes (17 colour points from 5 games)
#25 Josh Kelly – 282.5 votes (17 from 5)
#40 Tim Taranto – 213 votes (7 from 2)
#43 Jacob Hopper – 210.5 votes (5 from 3)
#92 Callan Ward – 151 votes (7 from 3)

#100-199 = 4 (Cumming, Finlayson, Green and Whitfield).
#200-299 = 7; #300-399 = 5; #400-499 = 7; #500-599 = 6.
Total players so far = 38.

The 18th-rated player for GWS so far this season is Conor Idun (ranked #343); the 22nd such player is Lachie Keeffe (at #410 overall). Among those Giants not listed in their current first 18 are Matt Buntine, Stephen Coniglio, Bret Daniels, Phil Davis, Matt DeBoer, Jesse Hogan, Adam Kennedy, Daniel Lloyd, Brayden Preuss, Zach Sproule, Sam Reid, and Jake Riccardi.

10.CARLTON (ELO-FF rating of 41.0, currently 14th best)

Top players (1 of the top 18; 2 of the top 54; 6 of the top 99):
#4 Sam Walsh – 409 votes (25 colour points from 9 games)
#30 Harry McKay – 254.5 votes (10 from 2)
#60 Jacob Weitering – 185.5 votes (9 from 4)
#69 Paddy Cripps – 172 votes (6 from 2)
#71 Adam Saad – 168 votes (4 from 2)
#76 Liam Jones – 162 votes (4 from 2)

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#100-199 = 4 players (Betts, E. Curnow, Docherty, and Williams).
#200-299 = 3; #300-399 = 9; #400-499 = 8; #500-599 = 6.
Total players so far = 38.

The 18th-highest vote-getter so far for Carlton is Lachie Plowman (#350 overall); the 22nd-highest is Levi Casboult (at #393 overall). Among those not in the Blues’ top 18 are Charlie Curnow, David Cunningham, Paddy Dow, Zac Fisher, Caleb Marchbank, Oscar McDonald, Mitch McGovern, and Sam Petrevski-Seton.

11.RICHMOND (ELO-FF rating of 54.5, 6th best in the comp)

Top players (1 of the top 18; 3 of the top 54; 3 of the top 99):
#17 Dustin Martin – 317.5 votes (18 colour points from 7 games)
#32 Shai Bolton – 240.5 votes (10 from 4)
#52 Jack Riewoldt – 193.5 votes (11 from 3)

#100-199 = 8 players (Baker, Balto, Broad, Cotchin, Edwards, Graham, Houli, and Short).
#200-299 = 8; #300-399 = 4; #400-499 = 6; #500-599 = 4.
Total players so far = 34.

The 18th-highest vote getter for Richmond is Nick Vlastuin (who is #270 overall); the 22nd highest is Daniel Rioli (at #350). Among those Tigers out of the top 18 as of R15 are David Astbury, Josh Caddy, Mabier Chol, Kamdyn McIntosh, Marlion Pickett, Dion Prestia, Jack Ross, Ivan Soldo, and Sydney Stack.

David Mundy

David Mundy (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

12.FREMANTLE (ELO-FF rating of 48.4, 9th best in the AFL)

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Top players (1 of the top 18; 3 of the top 54; 5 of the top 99):
#11 David Mundy – 364 votes (23 colour points from 7 games)
#39 Andrew Brayshaw – 216 votes (8 from 3)
#41 Sean Darcy – 211 votes (10 from 3)
#56 Nat Fyfe – 191 votes (11 from 3)
#67 Luke Ryan – 172.5 votes (7 from 3)

#100-199 = 5 players (Cerra, Lobb, Schulz, Serong, and Tabener)
#200-299 = 3; #300-399 = 6; #400-499 = 12; #500-599 = 6.
Total players so far = 38.

The 18th-rated player for Fremantle is Nathan Wilson (#337 in the comp); the 22nd rated player is Griffin Logue (#420 overall). Among those Dockers currently out of the top 18 are Brett Bewley, Reese Conca, Taylin Duman, Michael Frederick, Joel Hamling, Stephen Hill, Alex Pearce, and Darcy Tucker.

13.SAINT KILDA (ELO-FF rating of 44.5, good for 12th place)

Top players (1 of the top 18; 1 of the top 54; 4 of the top 99):

#15 Jack Steele – 339.5 votes (25 colour points from 7 games)
#67 Brad Crouch – 172.5 votes (7 from 4)
#88 Jack Billings – 154.5 votes (9 from 3)
#99 Tim Membrey – 142.5 votes (7 from 2)

#100-199 = 8 players (Clark, Dunstan, Higgins, Hill, Howard, Jones, King, and Sinclair).
#200-299 = 5; #300-399 = 7; #400-499 = 4; #500-599 = 7.
Total players so far = 36.

The 18th-highest vote getting player for St Kilda currently is Josh Battle (#305 overall); the 22nd highest is Jade Gresham (#370 overall). Among those Saints not in that top 18 right now are Jack Bytel, James Frawley, Dan Hannebury, Tom Highmore, Dean Kent, Ben Long, Jack Lonie, Rowan Marshall, Daniel Mackenzie, Dylan Robertson, and Jimmy Webster.

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14.COLLINGWOOD (ELO-FF rating of 42.0, which is 13th overall)

Top players (none of the top 18; 2 of the top 54; 6 of the top 99):
#34 Brodie Grundy – 234.5 votes (13 colour points from 4 games)
#41 Darcy Moore – 211 votes (11 from 3)
#66 Brandon Maynard – 173 votes (6 from 2)
#75 Jack Crisp – 163 votes (2 from 2)
#77 Scott Pendlebury – 161 votes (5 from 1)
#90 Jordan deGoey – 152.5 votes (7 from 3).

#100-199 = 5 players (Adams, Cameron, Elliott, Mihocek, and Sidebottom).
#200-299 = 7; #300-399 = 5; #400-499 = 5; #500-599 = 8.
Total players so far = 37.

The #18 Collingwood player is currently John Noble (#285 overall), while the #22 player is Caleb Poulter (at #385 overall). Among those Magpies not in that top 18 are Callum Brown, Mason Cox, Levi Greenwood, Jack Magden, Brayden Sier and Josh Thomas.

15.ADELAIDE (ELO-FF rating of 35.1, 15th place)

Top players (1 of the top 18; 3 of the top 54; 4 of the best 99):
#9 Taylor Walker – 369 votes (18 color points from 5 games)
#22 Rory Laird – 285.5 votes (10 from 6)
#49 Ben Keays – 199 votes (5 from 3)
#57 Paul Seedsman – 189.5 votes (5 from 2)

#100-199 = 5 players (Doedee, O’Brien, Sholl, Sloane, and Thilthorpe).
#200-299 = 6; #300-399 = 5; #400-499 = 7; #500-599 = 3.
Total players so far = 33.

The 18th-rated player in 2021 so far for Adelaide is Luke Brown (ranked #374 overall); the 22nd rated is Will Hamill (at #416 overall). Among those Crows not in their figurative top 18 would be Tom Lynch, David Mackay, Lachlan Murphy, and Daniel Talia.

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16.GOLD COAST (ELO-FF rating of 31.8, placing them 17th in the AFL)

Top players (1 of the top 18; 1 of the top 54; 4 of the top 99):
#14 Touk Miller – 343.5 votes (21 colour points from 7 games).
#65 Hugh Greenwood – 176.5 votes (10 from 3).
#91 Brandon Ellis – 152 votes (5 from 1)
#97 Ben King – 144.5 votes (4 from 2)

#100-199 = 7 players (Anderson, Bowes, Collins, Lukosius, Powell, Rankine, and Swallow).
#200-299 = 5; #300-399 = 4; #400-499 = 6; #500-599 = 10.
Total players so far = 36.

The 18th rated Gold Coast player this season is Charlie Ballard (#331 overall); the 22nd rated is Darcy McPherson (at #445 overall). Among those Suns not in the team’s first 18 after R15 are Will Brodie, Chris Burgess, Sam Day, Jy Farrar, Brayden Fiorini, Jarrod Harbrow, Jack Hombsch, Sean Lemmens, Matt Rowell, and Jarrod Witts.

17.HAWTHORN (ELO-FF rating of 34.6, 16th place in the AFL)

Top players (1 in the top 18; 1 in the top 54; 3 in the top 99):
#18 Tom Mitchell – 317 votes (20 color points from 8 games)
#86 Jaegar O’Meara – 156 votes (4 from 2)
#92 Changkioth Jioth – 151 votes (6 from 2)

#100-199 = 8 players (Breust, Day, Hardwick, Impey, Kotchtzke, McEvoy, Moore, and Scrimshaw).
#200-299 = 8; #300-399 = 4; #400-499 = 5; #500-599 = 9.
Total players so far = 38.

The 18th rated Hawthorn player so far is Tim O’Brien (rated #289 leaguewide); the 22nd rated is James Cousins (ranked #363). Among those Hawks not presently top 18 are Shaun Burgoyne (congratulations on game 400!), Jack Gunston, Ollie Hanrahan, Kyle Hartigan, Michael Hartley, Tom Scully, and James Sicily.

18.NORTH MELBOURNE (ELO-FF rating of 23.3; still 18th place, but up from a low of 8.1!)

Top players (none of the top 18; 1 of the top 54; 5 of the top 99):
#27 Ben Cunnington – 262 votes (13 colour points from 6 games)
#61 Jy Simpkin – 184.5 votes (8 from 2)
#72 Aaron Hall – 166.5 votes (7 from 3)
#87 Jack Ziebell – 155.5 votes (no colour points)
#89 Todd Goldstein – 153.5 votes (4 from 2)

#100-199 = 3 players (Stephenson, Thomas, Zurhaar).
#200-299 = 7; #300-399 = 6; #400-499 = 6; #500-599 = 8.
Total players so far = 35.

The 18th rated North Melbourne player after R15 is Connor Menadue (#374 overall), and the 22nd ranked player is Curtis Taylor (at #410 leaguewide). Among those not in the Kangaroo top 18 are Atu Bosenavulagi, Trent Dumont, Taylor Garner, Will Phillips, Jared Polec, Robbie Tarrant, and Dom Tyson.

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