Bookmakers think Hawks star Tom Mitchell already has one hand on the Brownlow Medal. And rightfully so.
After an explosive season where the gun ball magnet racked up nearly a dozen 40 plus possession games, get used to hearing: ‘T.Mitchell – three votes.’ The AFL Fantasy king even hit the 50-disposal mark on two occasions.
The real question is, who will finish runner up?
Last year’s winner, Dustin Martin, seems to be Mitchell’s biggest challenger. While Martin’s numbers were down in basically every key statistic, it was nearly an impossible task to match his sensational 2017 season, where he gathered a record 36 votes.
Although Martin stood out less this season, he was consistently the Tigers’ match winner and their most prolific on the stats sheet. There is something seductive about handing him best-on-ground honours in a ton of the Tigers’ wins where he kicked a bag or tore a contest to shreds.
You simply can’t rule out a champion of Martin’s ilk who turns games in such a striking way, especially considering his team finished two wins clear at the top of the ladder. And who at Richmond is going to take votes off him?
Gawn is arguably the most dominant player in the competition, manhandling every opposition ruckman that stood in his path. Gawn was tapping it down teammate Clayton Oliver’s throat most of the time and you feel like the duo could share 40 or so votes, which isn’t enough these days.
Grundy’s emergence was profound – he seemed to be in five places at once whenever you watched the Pies and owned the ruck duel almost every week. But like Oliver to Gawn, will the likes of Steele Sidebottom, Scott Pendlebury and Adam Treloar take too many votes from him?
Patrick Cripps was a monster in the contest and has Brownlow written all over him – the sole bright light on a struggling outfit. The question mark is, how many times can Cripps pull three, even two votes, when his side got pummelled? The inside bull took his game to another level in 2018, so it would be foolish to rule him out.
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