While the Champion Data team is confident that Ollie Wines will be a runaway winner in their Brownlow preview, but in what will likely be the closest count we’ve seen in over a decade, Jack Steele is a huge chance of causing a Brownlow boilover.
Here are The Wolf’s Brownlow tips.
There’s no doubt that Dustin Martin will be Richmond’s leading vote-getter, with the 2017 Brownlow Medalist likely to poll around 13 votes – but The Wolf really likes Jack Riewoldt to finish second for the Tigers forming the Richmond quinella.
With the Tigers only winning nine games this season, The Wolf expects Dusty to poll three votes in three of those wins and two votes in two others. But it was Round 11 and Round 18’s efforts which should see Jack finish second for Richmond.
In Round 11 Riewoldt was dominant against the Crows with 20 disposals, 14 marks and 5 goals – including what could be named the mark of the year. His performance in Round 18 should also see him secure three votes against the Lions with Riewoldt kicking 6.2 from 14 disposals and 7 marks in his 300th game.
Shai Bolton is the ultimate threat, but aside from his 22 touches and 3 goals in Round 7, The Wolf can only see him pick up a handful of one-voters.
Zach Merrett’s season was somewhat underrated occasionally playing backseat to the rise of Darcy Parish, but the 25-year-old had a career year in a good season for the Bombers.
Merrett averaged 31.6 disposals per game in 2021, ranked 7th in the AFL – one spot above his teammate in Parish.
In 2016 Merrett polled 19 votes in a team that won three games emphasising his ability to poll, recording an average of 0.7 votes in four of his last five years.
Expect the Bomber to finish the season with a bang with potential three-vote games in rounds 17, 18 and 20. He recorded 35 touches against the Crows and backed it up the following week with 39 against North Melbourne. In their Round 20 clash with the Swans, the Bombers went down but Merrett was the best player on the ground with 35 disposals and 2 goals.
Expect Merrett to cover the 20.5 votes line with a top-10 finish.
It wasn’t the season we’ve become accustomed to seeing from Brodie Grundy, but The Wolf still thinks he’s done enough to poll more than Fremantle ruckman Sean Darcy.
Fair to say the Docker had the better year, but Grundy’s ball-winning ability as a ruckman and polling history goes a long way in this.
The Collingwood ruckman polled 17 votes in 2018 followed by a huge 23 votes in 2019 finishing equal 6th.
As for Darcy, he is yet to poll a vote in his career – he did average 16.6 disposals per game in 2021, but Grundy still had him covered in this area averaging 19.1 per game.
Grundy had a big game in Round 3 against the Lions with 28 disposals and 54 hitouts which could see him potentially poll 3 votes in a loss, while his performances in Round 10 and 15 were also impressive having 23 disposals and 2 goals in their one-point loss to the Power, and 22 disposals and 2 goals against the Dockers.
Don’t expect huge votes in this head to head, but Grundy is a ruckman that is a proven poller and we’re yet to see what Sean Darcy is capable of.
To finish top-20 you generally need 14-15 votes on Brownlow Night – 16 votes has been the highest on the top-20 fold in the last 20 years in 2016.
Both Josh Kelly and Rory Laird should finish ranked between 11-20 in this year’s count off the back of strong seasons, but The Wolf doesn’t expect either to hit the 20+ vote mark on Brownlow Night.
Laird won a heap of footy in 2021, but the Crows only won seven games for the season. Tex will poll 3 in their first two wins, but after that Laird will be close to pulling 3 votes in their Round 4, 13, 19 and 23 wins. Expect the Crow to finish anywhere between 15 and 18.
Josh Kelly had a really consistent 2021 in what was his best season since his 2017 breakout. Kelly polled 21 votes that year, and although he polled double-digits on two occasions since he hasn’t had the same impact. Kelly kicked 16 goals for the season – the second best output in his career after 2017, and we should expect to see him poll in those big possession games where he hit the scoreboard. The Giant should poll between 15 and 17 votes.
Those vote totals should see both Kelly and Laird finish inside the top-20, with the $3.40 in this BYOBrownlow market great value.
We know Champion Data has Ollie Wines winning in a landslide, but The Wolf has to go in a different direction – it’s Saints’ skipper Jack Steele.
Not just because Steele was my pre-season Brownlow selection at $15, but the Saint had an enormous second half of 2021 where we could see the Saint record anywhere from 28 to 31 votes.
From Round 11 onwards, Steele is a likely chance of polling 3 votes in five games along with a flurry of potential 1s and 2s.
The Saints only won ten games in 2021, but Steele is a legitimate chance of polling three votes in nearly every victory they had – the only two wins he’s not in the mix being in Rounds 1 and 7. On top of this, Steele is a chance of polling in Rounds 2, 9, 12, 13, 18 and 20 in losing teams.
Steele enters the 2021 Brownlow off the back of a huge 2020 season where he polled 17 votes finishing fourth. With Macrae stealing off Bont, Petracca off Oliver, and Boak from Wines, Jack Steele is a huge chance of swooping over the top of the three favourites.
More Brownlow Tips
Brownlow Teams Multi
Jarryd Lyons (Brisbane) – $1.40
David Mundy (Fremantle) – $1.08
Cam Guthrie (Geelong) – $1.08
Jaeger O’Meara (Hawthorn w/o Mitchell) – $1.65
Karl Amon (Power w/o Wines & Boak) – $1.20
Dustin Martin (Richmond) – $1.15
Luke Parker (Sydney) – $1.50