2022 treated us to one of the closest and unexpected Brownlow counts in recent times, with the winner still unknown when Gil McLachlan started the count for Round 23's votes. However, a best-on-ground performance in the final weekend against Collingwood saw Patrick Cripps narrowly win by a singular vote over Lachie Neale.

This year's Brownlow night is looming to be even more interesting than last year's.

Nick Daicos was the clear favourite to win the Brownlow Medal coming into Round 21, having played the most tantalising season out of all the contenders. However, a knee injury sustained against Hawthorn is expected to keep him out until halfway through September, leaving the door wide open for other contenders.

With three games to play out for the season, the race is on to see if Daicos holds on to his lead or if another player can catch up. Marcus Bontempelli and Christian Petracca both loom as the biggest threats to Daicos currently, but gaps in their performances, as well as other teammates anticipated to earn votes, may jeopardise their chances.

According to our MVP leaderboard, there are nine players who will poll heavily on Brownlow night.

We assess how Daicos, Botempelli and Petracca could fare come the AFL's 'night of nights' and which dark horses could still be in the running.


1. Nick Daicos

It's no certainty that Daicos will hold on from here with three games to play out, but it has been done before.

In 2015 and 2019, Nat Fyfe won the Brownlow Medal and on both occasions he had played exactly 20 games for the season after battling injury. Gary Ablett also won in 2009 from his first 19 games, yet lost to Matt Priddis in 2014 following a shoulder injury after managing 22 votes from 15 matches.

Daicos had the strongest start to the season of any potential contender, potentially claiming best on ground honours for Collingwood in his first six games and might be expected to earn three votes on Brownlow Night in four of the first six games.

Daicos' standout game for the season was no doubt in Collingwood's Anzac Day comeback win against Essendon, finishing the game with 40 disposals, six marks and two goals to win the Anzac Day Medal.

His performance against the Western Bulldogs in Round 17 also saw him win the Bob Rose-Charlie Sutton Medal for his 29 disposals, 11 clearances and two goals. With such consistency throughout the season, it will be interesting to see what happens in the final few rounds come Brownlow night.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 25: Nick Daicos of the Magpies poses for a photo after winning the Anzac medal during the 2023 AFL Round 06 match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Essendon Bombers at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 25, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)