Who wins the 2019 Brownlow Medal? It’s the burning question that has been circulating after the home-and-away season drew to a close.
This time last year, we all knew who was going to win the Brownlow and the only question that was being thrown around was how many votes Tom Mitchell would win by.
However, this year’s count has become a little more complicated. There’s not just one outright front-runner like last year. Instead we have several players who all are well and truly in the mix to win, which makes the 2019 Brownlow Medal exciting and unpredictable.
The first player in the mix is Lachie Neale. It’s been a stand-out year for the 26-year-old, and he has become one of the genuine stars of the competition. Neale averages 31.3 disposals a game and he has been able to register the third most disposals for the year with 688.
Neale, however, did have a rough patch leading up to the bye round where he might struggle to poll votes. But his solid start to the year will definitely see him poll votes early, which could prove crucial.
The second player is Patrick Dangerfield. Dangerfield has had another stand-out season and he’s been spending more time up forward, which allows him to hit the scoreboard.
The 2016 Brownlow Medallist has averaged 27.3 disposals from his 21 games and has also managed to kick 25 goals. Dangerfield started very strongly, so look to see him poll votes early. Dangerfield will also come home very strongly with his last three games all great performances where it’s likely he’ll poll three votes in these matches.
The third player is Tim Kelly. Kelly started off the season brilliantly and look to see him poll many votes before the bye rounds. However, he’ll will struggle to poll votes in the second half of the season – his form dropped off as the season progressed. The question for Kelly is whether he polled enough votes in the first half of the season to hang on?
The fourth player in the mix is Patrick Cripps. A solid start to the season will see him poll early votes. Cripps averaged 28 disposals this year, however the only cloud that hangs over his head is that he didn’t play in enough winning games with Carlton. But he’s one man that is very unpredictable in this Brownlow count – he’ll certainly be in the mix.
The fifth candidate is Nat Fyfe. Fyfe played some solid footy in the first half of the season and look for him to poll votes from Rounds 5 to 9. This is where he played very well and he should definitely poll votes in this period.
Fyfe averaged 29.2 disposals from his 20 games and was a stand-out player for the Dockers. Fyfe, along with Dangerfield, could potentially be a dual Brownlow Medallist.
Another contender this year will be Marcus Bontempelli, who will poll well but won’t be able to win because Jack Macrae and Josh Dunkley most likely have stolen votes from the classy left-footer.
Dustin Martin is ineligible, however he will also poll votes, which could see him finish in the top bracket of the count.
There’s also Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy. Is it possibly the year of the ruckman? Gawn had a wonderful middle part to the year and he could potentially register some votes in the rounds leading up to the bye.
Meanwhile, Grundy had another brilliant season where he could potentially poll votes early on and also towards the end of the season. However, in past years, ruckmen don’t tend to poll as well as the midfielders but certainly don’t rule them out.
So who wins? Lachie Neale, Patrick Dangerfield, Nat Fyfe and Patrick Cripps will indeed be the top four contenders.
However, I believe Patrick Dangerfield could take home the medal this year. His season has been unbelievable. He has found so much of the footy and is so influential in games with his prodigious kick and intensity around the contest. He’s also hit the scoreboard, and when he kicks goals, usually they’re at crucial moments.
Dangerfield’s last three games will get him over the line. These game will see him come over the top and win.
No matter what the result, this year’s Brownlow Medal count is going to be one for the ages.