Only a monumental upset will deny Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield of taking home the AFL’s most coveted individual award, the Brownlow Medal.
In the eyes of many, next Monday night’s medal count is set in stone with the 26-year-old Cats midfielder poised to take home ‘Charlie’ for the first time.
The AFL Players’ Association MVP is a short-priced favourite to win the award won by Fremantle’s Nat Fyfe last year.
With numerous best-on-ground performances throughout the season while averaging a career-high 25.5 disposals per game, there’s every reason to believe he has Charlie in the bag.
While some have the Geelong star winning a close count, most keen observers have Dangerfield winning convincingly and possibly eclipsing Dane Swan’s single season record of 34 votes in 2011.
According to afl.com.au’s Brownlow Medal projections, the Geelong champ will accrue 29 points, ahead of Sydney Swans midfielder Luke Parker (25), ineligible Adelaide Crows star Rory Sloane (23) and West Coast’s Luke Shuey (22) and Richmond’s Dustin Martin (22).
Sloane was ruled ineligible after being rubbed out for a late hit on Port’s Brad Ebert in round 22.
Despite playing a pivotal role for the GWS Giants’ maiden finals appearance, midfielder Callan Ward is predicted to poll 19 points.
Western Bulldogs’ star Marcus Bontempelli is tipped to collect 17 votes. Dangerfield was sixth in last year’s medal with 21 points.
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Rightly or wrongly, the Brownlow seems destined to end up in the grasps of a midfielder.
No-one is suggesting they aren’t worthy of the medal, but if history is any guide, a non-midfielder is highly unlikely to be awarded the medal.
In Unibet’s Brownlow Medal markets, all top 10 contenders to win the medal are midfielders with Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn, at long odds of 81.00, the top contender amongst a short list of non-midfielders in the top 20.
Indeed, the last non-midfielder to take home Charlie was former Bombers forward James Hird in 1996.
There’s no denying Danger’s credentials as this year’s potential victor.
Along with winning the AFL Player’s Association award which is a great guide to Brownlow Medal voting, the 26-year-old also earned his fourth All-Australian nomination.
The Geelong playmaker has been in superlative form all season, highlighted by a sparkling run of form in the middle of the season where he amassed a combined 85 disposals, 23 inside 50s and kicked four goals against North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs.
Dangerfield also surpassed former Brisbane Lions premiership player Jason Akermanis’ 2004 record of 172 inside 50s in a single season.
A bevy of sublime midfielders are ready to take Charlie home should the umpires inexplicably decide that Dangerfield isn’t worthy on the honour.
Martin, Parker, Bontempelli, Hannebery, Selwood, Mitchell,Kennedy (Sydney) andShuey are next in line and should all poll well.
Some would love to see a forward like Buddy Franklin or a ruckman like Gawn to win the medal, but the bulk of the votes are destined to flow in the direction of the midfielders.
With five weeks remaining in the regular season, some bookmakers elected to pay out existing Dangerfield bets on the premise the Cats midfielder was a shoo-in to win the award.
While anything is possible, it’s highly unlikely a fellow midfielder can snatch the medal away from the Geelong talisman.
Dangerfield’s numbers this year speak volumes for the calibre of season he’s enjoyed and if Charlie goes his way, there’ll be no more deserving recipient of the AFL’s most prestigious award.
Brownlow Medal Winner
Unibet Odds: Patrick Dangerfield 1.20, Dustin Martin 13.00, Luke Parker 17.00, Marcus Bontempelli 21.00, Dan Hannebery 26.00, Joel Selwood 26.00, Sam Mitchell 34.00, Josh Kennedy 51.00, Luke Shuey 67.00, Jack Steven 67.00, Max Gawn 81.00
Tip: Patrick Dangerfield at $1.20
To finish 1-3
Patrick Dangerfield 1.04, Dustin Martin 2.75, Luke Parker 4.00, Marcus Bontempelli 4.50, Dan Hannebery 6.00, Joel Selwood 6.00, Sam Mitchell 7.00, Josh Kennedy 11.00, Luke Shuey 13.00, Jack Steven 13.00, Max Gawn 17.00
Tip for 1-3: Luke Parker at $4.00
The Bronwnlow Medal ceremony will be held at Melbourne’s Crown Casino with the medal count taking place after the red carpet.