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Brownlow form guide: Your club's best chance for Charlie

AFL Media  September 20, 2017 1:59 PM

AFL 2017 Round 02 - West Coast v St Kilda

St Kilda star Seb Ross could poll well in next Monday night's Brownlow Medal.

Brownlow Medal 2017 looks like it could be a Dustin Martin coronation ceremony.

The Tiger superstar is an unbackable favourite to take home 'Charlie' for the first time, particularly with last year's winner, Patrick Dangerfield, ineligible.

But who could give Dusty a fright? Will it be another year of midfield domination? Could the ladder-leading Crows spring a shock?

The AFL.com.au Brownlow Predictor tallies our reporters' vote projections for every game - below is each club's best hope, the player likely to be quickest out of the blocks, and those one-vote wonders that every Brownlow count delivers.

Vice-captain Rory Sloane and All Australian midfielder Matt Crouch are the Crows' best chances of polling strongly. As the minor premiers, the Crows should collect maximum votes for a number of games. Club great Mark Ricciuto is the club's only Brownlow medallist, sharing the award in 2003. 

Best chance: Rory Sloane
Sloane started the season with a bang before he struggled to get involved once opposition teams tagged him. A couple strong performances in rounds 18 and 22 had Sloane finish the season with 21 votes on our Brownlow Medal predictor, which is good enough for fifth overall. Sloane should collect maximum votes in five games this season. He is always a popular figure with the umpires with his toughness at the contest and tackling pressure.
 

Fast starter: Rory Sloane
Sloane is expected to poll 12 votes out of a possible 18 – including three best-on-ground performances - in the first six rounds of the season.

One-vote wonder: Andy Otten
More known as a key defender, Otten successfully moved into attack, booting four goals in the Crows' 100-point thumping of Fremantle in round 10.
 

Ineligible: None. - Lee Gaskin

Brisbane Lions

For a team that finished with the wooden spoon, the Lions should still have a few reasons to get excited on Brownlow night. The two Daynes – Beams and Zorko (although he's ineligible) - should poll well and keep the votes ticking along. We've got just six players polling votes, with Lewis Taylor the only other player aside from the two midfield aces projected to grab a three-voter. 

Best chance: Dayne Beams
After his 2016 was ruined with knee problems, Beams returned to near peak form this season. With the added responsibility of the captaincy, the 27-year-old excelled. He's projected to get 15 votes but has polled in 10 games, so that number could easily rise. His 32-disposal, four-goal effort against Gold Coast in round 21 was a highlight and should bag three votes, while on three other occasions he kicked three goals and added 28-plus disposals in the same game.
 

Fast starter: Dayne Beams
Beams takes out this one as well. The Lions won their first match against Gold Coast, where Beams is expected to grab two votes, and his performances in rounds two and three losses against Essendon and St Kilda have also seen him predicted to get a vote.

One-vote wonder: Ryan Lester
A member of the leadership group and one of the most popular players at the club, Lester's performance against Carlton in round 18 just might see him grab his first ever Brownlow vote. One goal, 26 disposals and nine marks in a 30-point victory.

Ineligible: Nick Robertson, Dayne Zorko. - Michael Whiting

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It's tough to see too many Blues polling well, considering they won six matches. Bryce Gibbs, Marc Murphy, Sam Docherty and Matthew Kreuzer all impressed, and although young gun Patrick Cripps finished with a tally of 18 last season, he was slightly quieter this campaign. A broken left leg ended his year early. 

Best chance: Bryce Gibbs
After seeking a trade back to Adelaide at the end of last season but being made to stay put, the South Australian was professional in his response, putting together one of the finest seasons of his career. He was tipped to pick up 11 votes after being adjudged best on ground three times, with two of those coming in losses. An eight-game patch in the middle of the season saw him pick up fewer than 30 disposals just once. 

Fast starter: Marc Murphy
Everything is relative, and the captain being expected to poll four votes in the opening three rounds was a decent effort considering his side won only once in that period. 

One-vote wonder: Kade Simpson
The evergreen backman continues to thrive despite having turned 33 during the season. He had 33 disposals in the round 13 victory against Gold Coast, in what is predicted to be his only vote for the year. 

Ineligible: Nil. - Dinny Navaratnam

The winner won't come from Collingwood after a topsy-turvy season but the midfielders should attract votes with the Brownlow predictor tipping the Magpies will poll 60 votes. Scott Pendlebury is a regular vote-winner but Taylor Adams and Steele Sidebottom had better seasons. Jamie Elliott should poll votes in the middle of the season and Brodie Grundy and Jeremy Howe will pick up ones and twos.

Best chance: Steele Sidebottom
Sidebottom was desperately unlucky to not receive a nomination for the All Australian team after one of his most consistent seasons. His average disposal count of 27.3 was equal only to 2015 while he also kicked 16 goals. He has polled either seven or nine votes in each of the past five seasons and should at least match that tally this year. The Brownlow predictor has him polling just four votes but he's expected to poll more. 

Fast starter: Taylor Adams
Adams jumped out of the blocks having 30 disposals or more in seven out of the first 10 games. He is an in-and-under type who is not flashy. If he had kicked straight the Magpies may have won more early games and he would have been a bigger chance to earn more votes. 

One-vote wonder
Will Hoskin-Elliott had a good first season with the Magpies and by law of averages he should claim at least one vote. He was in the top six players on the ground on a number of occasions but whether he did enough to earn the umpires' attention in at least one of those games remains to be seen.

Ineligible: Levi Greenwood, Brodie Grundy, Travis Varcoe. - Peter Ryan

The Bombers won't have a contender for the Brownlow with best chance star midfielder Zach Merrett serving a one-game suspension late in the year. He was their leading hope, particularly after polling a team-high 19 votes last week. The Brownlow Predictor expects Merrett to poll 18 votes this season, and 10 Bombers to receive votes across the season.

Best chance: Joe Daniher
With Merrett suspended during the season, Daniher becomes Essendon's best of its eligible players. The star key forward had some brilliant games this season and should get best-afield nod in at least three games, including his five-goal hauls against Collingwood and Geelong.

Fast starter: Dyson Heppell
The new Essendon skipper returned to an AFL field for the first time in 18 months and blitzed in the Bombers' round one win over Hawthorn with 34 disposals and three goals. He should get off to a flyer with three votes.

One-vote wonder: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti
In AFL.com.au's Brownlow Predictor there is no Bomber who ends the season with just a single vote. McDonald-Tipungwuti is closest with two, and he is an eye-catching player so should have his moments in the eyes of the umpires.
 

Ineligible: Zach Merrett. - Callum Twomey

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti put in a number of eye-catching games this year. Picture: AFL Photos

Walters, David Mundy, Bradley Hill and Lachie Neale all had their moment in the sun in the Dockers' six victories between rounds three and nine. It will be slim pickings after that when Freo only won two games. As a whole, the Dockers are expected to finish with about 48 votes. 

Best chance: Nat Fyfe
The 2015 Brownlow medallist got better as the year wore on coming back from a broken leg but Fyfe could pick up three votes after leading from the front with 33 touches, seven clearances and six tackles in an upset win over the Western Bulldogs in round three. He might not poll again until a best-on-ground effort in the round 16 victory against North Melbourne. Tipped to receive about nine votes all up. 

Fast starter: David Mundy
The former skipper booted three goals from 23 touches in the round four heart-stopper against the Dees, before racking up a game-high 30 disposals in the thriller victory over North a week later. Could poll six votes and that might be it for his night.

One-vote wonder: Matt Taberner
Hauled down seven contested marks and slotted four goals in a stunning first AFL game for the year against Essendon in round seven. A month later he was dropped. 

Ineligible: Sean Darcy, Cam McCarthy. - Travis King

Suspensions have decimated the Cats' genuine chances, and there'll be plenty of grimacing and reflecting on mistimed tackles when Patrick Dangerfield polls strongly – and likely leads for a while - with around six three-point games predicted, mainly in the middle of the season. Joel Selwood and Mitch Duncan – also ineligible – will be the other prolific Cats, but no one in hoops (who can actually win it) will challenge the favoured Tiger.

Best chance: Joel Selwood
It was a consistent year from the captain who averaged nearly 26 disposals over 18 games. Despite missing the last three with an ankle injury, he finished second at the club for contested possessions behind Dangerfield. Started the season well with huge games against Melbourne (round three) and St Kilda (round five), before he hit a purple patch before the bye that should leave him with around 15 votes in total. 

Fast starter: Patrick Dangerfield 
Will poll in the first three rounds and could lead with Martin on seven votes going into round four. Had a quiet patch until round nine, but should put another five on the board before the bye. He'll be the quickest Cat out of the blocks, but with his best work coming after round 13, he'll trail the likes of Martin, Kelly and Sloane at the season's mid-point. 

One-vote wonder: Mark Blicavs 
His best shot will be in round five in the Cats' win over St Kilda. Had 21 touches, rucked a bit, took a big contested grab over Billy Longer and tackled hard. Given he quite often starts in the circle, he would have been right under the umpires' noses. 

Ineligible: Patrick Dangerfield, Mitch Duncan, Tom Hawkins, Sam Menegola, James Parsons. - Jennifer Phelan

In a grim season for the club overall, don't expect to see anyone polling too high. The Suns won just six matches but were competitive in a few others and we've got them polling 47 votes overall. Interestingly, 11 players scored votes from our judges.

Best chance: Gary Ablett
No surprises here. Punters may remember Ablett's year for the hamstring injury that kept him out of so many matches late in the season, but when he played, the two-time winner was fantastic. We have him polling 11 votes, but he's an umpires' favourite, so don't be surprised if he gets a few more. Ablett played in all six Gold Coast victories, racking up at least 32 disposals each time.

Fast starter: Touk Miller
No real standout in this category for the Suns. The only player that polls in two of the first five matches is Jack Martin (one vote each time). Miller's opening round against the Lions grabbed him the three votes despite a narrow loss.
 

One-vote wonder: Jarrod Witts
Might have to be a two-vote wonder this time. The hulking ruckman had a strong first season in Gold Coast colours and our judges gave him two votes for his influential role in Gold Coast's round three slaughter of Hawthorn.

Ineligible: Matt Rosa. - Michael Whiting

Gun onballers Josh Kelly and Dylan Shiel are expected to be the Giants best Brownlow vote-getters, but power forward Jonathon Patton could be a surprise on the night. The big man kicked 13 goals in three games after the bye, to go with a six-goal haul in round four, so should snag some votes. Our predictor has GWS polling 82 votes.

Best chance: Josh Kelly
The Giants' briliant young midfielder had a breakout year and is the club's best hope this year. Kelly averaged almost 30 possessions per game and also kicked 18 goals, and was outstanding in the first half of the season especially. Kelly broke the GWS record with 43 touches in round 22 against West Coast, and our predictor is forecasting 25 votes for the 22-year-old.

Fast starter: Josh Kelly
After the Giants' round one disaster in Adelaide, Kelly led the club's revival with some outstanding form. He could very well have eight or nine votes from four rounds after racking up big numbers against Gold Coast, North Melbourne and Port Adelaide.

One-vote wonder: Sam Reid
If the umpires were switched on in round 14, Reid should get at least a vote for his tagging job on Brisbane Lion Dayne Zorko at the Gabba. Reid was sent to the dangerous Lion, who averaged 25 disposals a game and booted 34 goals in 2017, and kept the brilliant Lion to just five possessions. 

Ineligible: Toby Greene and Shane Mumford - Adam Curley

Don't expect a Brownlow bonanza from the Hawks, but midfielder Tom Mitchell is a big chance to feature strongly. Behind him, premiership stars Shaun Burgoyne, Jack Gunston and Jarryd Roughead and NAB AFL Rising Star runner-up Ryan Burton are best placed to do well. Our Brownlow predictor has Hawthorn amassing 61 votes on the night. 

Best chance: Tom Mitchell
The ex-Swan is in the mix to finish on the Brownlow Medal podium thanks to a magnificent first season in brown and gold. He led the league with 35.8 disposals – never having fewer than 26 in a game – his 14.8 contested possessions ranked fifth, and he was also prominent in stoppage clearances (seventh) and tackles (15th). The predictor expects him to pick up 22 votes, including three each in rounds five, eight and 22.
 

Fast starter: Tom Mitchell
There wasn't anyone who really fit this category because of the Hawks' 0-4 beginning, but if anyone does it is the club's resident ball magnet. Our predictor has him voteless through four rounds, but a best-on-ground effort in round five was the start of eight potential votes in five rounds.

Few players have won more of the ball in a season than Tom Mitchell. Picture: AFL Photos

One-vote wonder: Cyril Rioli
Rioli's football resume stacks up with some of the greats, but it was a frustrating season for him, even before sustaining a season-ending PCL injury in round eight. But he may salvage a Brownlow Medal vote for his round-five effort against West Coast, including 15 disposals (nine contested), 1.1, six score involvements and six tackles.

Ineligible: Luke Hodge - Marc McGowan

Melbourne has not had a Brownlow medallist since Shane Woewodin won the prestigious award in 2000. Oliver is clearly the Demons' best hope this season and he could be a real chance of finishing inside the count's top five. Jack Viney and Tom McDonald had a number of match-winning performances and they might poll maximum votes in a couple of those games. 

Best chance: Clayton Oliver
Oliver enjoyed a breakout season in 2017, performing at a consistently high level rarely seen in such a young player. The 20-year-old averaged 30 disposals across 22 games, ranking fifth in the AFL for total touches, fifth for clearances, second for contested possessions, No.1 for total handballs and No.1 in the AFL for average groundball gets. Oliver is already one of the best clearance players in the AFL, he's clean below his knees in congestion and has elite vision in traffic. 

Fast starter: Clayton Oliver
Expect Oliver to leap out of the gates after gathering 36 disposals and then 35 touches in his first two games. It would be a surprise if Oliver did not poll maximum votes against St Kilda in round one after gathering 36 touches and nine clearances in what was a best on ground display. 

One-vote wonder: Angus Brayshaw
Repeat concussions restricted Brayshaw to just five senior games in 2017. However, he made a late season return and performed well in the final three games of the season. The luckless youngster could poll a vote against St Kilda in his return game in round 21, after racking up 26 disposals in a big Melbourne win. 

Ineligible: Tomas Bugg, Jesse Hogan, Jordan Lewis, Christian Salem, Bernie Vince. - Ben Guthrie

Ben Cunnington is expected to lead the Roos' charge with 15 votes, but is ineligible because of suspension. Cunnington, Shaun Higgins and Ben Brown were the Kangas' standouts and all should poll well – potentially in double digits. But don't expect great variety in the club's votegetters, with only eight players expected to feature and 38 of their 47 votes tipped to come from the aforementioned trio.

Best chance: Shaun Higgins
North's newly crowned best and fairest averaged a personal-best 23.5 disposals, five tackles, 5.7 inside 50s, 7.2 score involvements, and almost a goal and a goal assist per game. The former Dog added much-needed skill and class to the Roos' midfield and was not only consistent, but had some eye-catching performances. AFL.com.au's Brownlow Medal predictor has Higgins racking up 12 votes, including two threes, in rounds two and 19, and three twos. 

Fast starter: Ben Cunnington
Cunnington missed round one through suspension, but following a disappointing 2016 campaign the inside midfielder hit the ground running this year after working on his aerobic capacity in the off-season. Had fewer than 26 possessions just twice to round nine, when he is slated to already have 11 votes. 

One-vote wonder: Mason Wood
Wood's talent continues to tantalise, but the key forward suffered through another injury-ravaged season. Should be in vote contention in round seven for his career-high 24 disposals, 10 marks, five tackles and 2.3 in the 59-point demolition of Adelaide. 

Ineligible: Ben Cunnington, Scott Thompson, Jarrad Waite. - Marc McGowan

The Power are expected to have four players in double figures such was their spread of contributors on their way to a 14-8 win-loss record in the home and away season. All Australian forward Robbie Gray will figure prominently, as will Ollie Wines and Chad Wingard, while star ruckman Paddy Ryder is ineligible after being suspended early in the season. 

Best chance: Robbie Gray
Gray tormented defenders as a permanent forward and turned several games on his own. He is expected to poll 17 votes according to the Brownlow Medal predictor, including four games where he was the best on ground.
 

Fast starter: Ollie Wines
The Power vice-captain burst out of the blocks with a strong start to the season. According to our predictor, Wines will poll nine votes in the first five rounds of the competition.
 

One-vote wonder: Matthew Broadbent
Before an ankle injury ended his season, the experienced half-back flanker had a blinder in the Power's 90-point flogging of Carlton in round five, picking up 32 possessions.
 

Ineligible: Tom Jonas, Paddy Ryder. - Lee Gaskin

The Tigers should add another Brownlow medallist to their ranks, with Dustin Martin set to join 2012 winner Trent Cotchin. With 15 wins in the regular season, there will be plenty of three-vote games on offer and Martin will scoop up most. Our Brownlow Predictor has the Tigers polling 88 votes as a team.  

Best chance: Dustin Martin
The superstar midfielder is expected to poll a record 38 votes to win in emphatic style after a career-best season. He is tipped to poll three votes in 10 games, with his increased scoreboard impact (32 goals in the home-and-away season) making him a match-winner. He is the shortest priced favourite in history after Patrick Dangerfield was ruled ineligible. 

Fast starter: Trent Cotchin
The skipper started the season in brilliant form and set the example for his team by pairing his committed attack on the ball with a strong defensive side to his game. His first month should see him poll seven votes, including three for a best-on-ground effort against Collingwood in round two.   

One-vote wonder: Reece Conca
The defender played the opening six games before a foot injury ended his season, but that included a 25-possession effort against West Coast. He pushed forward well but missed his chances in front of goal. He was still in the top three players on the ground, according to our predictor.

Ineligible: Bachar Houli, Toby Nankervis 

The two highest-polling Saints will most likely be onballers Seb Ross and Jack Steven. Jack Billings polled four votes in the first three years of his career but he should exceed that tally after some exceptional matches. With a relatively blue-collar midfield, few of their teammates are likely to be prolific, although Jack Steele impressed in his first season since crossing over from Greater Western Sydney.

Best chance: Seb Ross
The hard-working left-footer put together the best season of his career, having played every game and averaging just shy of 30 disposals. He was tipped to poll in seven games for a total tally of 14. Just once was he adjudged best on ground, when he had 32 disposals in the round 13 win against North Melbourne. On 14 occasions, he collected at least 30 disposals, giving him plenty of chances to catch the umpires' attention.

Fast starter: Jack Steven
Having set a high bar with three best and fairests in the past four years, Steven was inconsistent by his standards but his best performances were still excellent. The predictor expected him to poll eight votes between rounds five and seven. It was some sort of return after missing two weeks with a punctured lung.

One-vote wonder: Jake Carlisle
Key defenders are rarely among the votes and that will likely be the case for the former Bomber, but he might pinch one for his effort against Fremantle in round 15.

Ineligible: Tim Membrey, Koby Stevens, Jimmy Webster. – Dinny Navaratnam

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There won't be too much activity early for the Swans but the likes of Josh Kennedy, Lance Franklin, Luke Parker and Dane Rampe should pick up plenty of votes in the second half of the season. Our predictor has Sydney polling 81 votes for the year.

Best chance: Josh Kennedy
The skipper was at his consistent best and led the Swans' revival after their disastrous 0-6 start to the season. Kennedy led the Swans for clearances, possessions and contested possessions per game, and despite missing three matches with injury, will poll well again. 

Fast starter: Lance Franklin
The star forward might be the only Swan to poll in the first six rounds and that’s as fast a start as they'll get, but his 22 possessions, 11 marks and four goals against the Western Bulldogs in round two is sure to get at least a vote. 

One-vote wonder: Callum Sinclair
The much-maligned big man won’t poll many votes but should get a perfect three for his round 18 efforts against St Kilda. Sinclair took 10 marks, eight of those contested, and kicked 5.3 from his 19 possessions.

Ineligible: Zak Jones - Adam Curley

The Brownlow is a midfielder's medal, so don't expect the Eagles to poll big numbers given their struggles in the engine room. Spearhead Josh Kennedy, intercept king Jeremy McGovern and half-back Elliot Yeo were the club's best players this year, and it will be interesting to see how strongly they poll. Sam Mitchell traditionally attracts votes and will be one to watch. The Eagles are tipped to poll about 63 votes all up.

Best chance: Josh Kennedy
The two-time Coleman medallist burst out of the blocks with a seven-goal haul in round one and should receive top marks. After missing five games mid-season, he was the difference as West Coast snuck into eighth spot on the ladder. Kennedy drilled 30 goals in his first six games back, including bags of six, six, five and six between rounds 18 and 21. Predicted to finish with roughly 12 votes, the same as Mitchell. 

Fast starter: Elliot Yeo
Yeo was sensational in the first half of the season. His aerial prowess and damaging kicking should earn him about eight votes in four of the first six rounds, with a best-on-ground display with 13 marks against St Kilda in round two.

One-vote wonder: Drew Petrie
The 34-year-old wound back the clock in the round 14 loss to Melbourne. In Kennedy's absence, Petrie bagged four goals and took eight marks in a last-gasp loss. 

Ineligible: Nil. - Travis King

The Dogs don't have a clear standout to take "Charlie" home this year due to a disappointing premiership defence, but gun midfielders Jack Macrae and Marcus Bontempelli appear likely to poll the most votes. The Brownlow predictor has Bontempelli collecting 18 and Macrae 12. Norm Smith medalist Jason Johannisen collected 10 last year, but the defensive playmaker won't get anywhere near that mark. Look for third-year talents Toby McLean and Bailey Dale to notch up their first votes after some eye-catching games in impressive breakout seasons. 

Best chance: Jack Macrae
For his consistency throughout the season where inconsistency hampered the 2016 premiers, Macrae should easily win the club's best and fairest award and poll the most votes for the Bulldogs in the Brownlow Medal. The 23-year-old midfielder didn't miss match in 2017, averaging a team-high 27.5 possessions at an impressive 77 per cent efficiency. He's also an extremely fair player, receiving 34 free kicks while giving away just 14. 

Fast starter: Marcus Bontempelli
The star playmaker could have six votes by round four following dominant performances against Collingwood, Sydney and North Melbourne.  For a player who doesn’t need a lot of the footy to have a big impact, the 21-year-old collected 76 touches, 17 tackles and kicked five goals in those early rounds.

One-vote wonder: Bailey Dale
After getting his chance in round six, the Edithvale-Aspendale product became a permanent fixture and an important cog in the Bulldog machine. The skillful wingman's four-goal haul against Port Adelaide in round 22 was worthy of at least one vote. with 

Ineligible players: Jack Redpath, Easton Wood. – Ryan Davidson