2021 Brownlow Preview (updated)
2021 Brownlow Preview Blog update With preseason starting this weekend I thought I’d look at my preview blog and make some updates to odds and comments. As usual, all odds can be found here.
I hope everyone has enjoyed the AFL break and free agency, I know I have and I’m already feeling recharged for next season! I thought I’d put out an early blog to look at the current markets for the top 10 and any other players I think are sitting on nice odds. 1. Lachie Neale ($5 $6) – Lachie is the favourite for 2021 after taking the COVID Brownlow last year. In a very good position to go back to back, but I see no value in him at that price. Lachie has moved out ever so slightly to $6, and I’d guess this is due to a bit of mystery around an off season niggle. I wouldn’t be worried about this at all, he’ll be good to go at this stage. $6 is decent value still if you think he can go back to back. 2. Patrick Cripps ($7) – This one surprised me a little as Cripps had a fairly forgettable year last season. The Blues are expected to improve this year and more wins usually means a better chance at votes. In the past Cripps has proven he can poll in bottom 4 side and I think it will come down to how motivated he is as. $7 is too low. This is tough, I feel like his odds are too low, and we are yet to see what sort of impact the new additions to the team will take. It could bump the Blues into the top 8 and if the wins keep coming, then their star bull may poll better than ever, still too short for me. 3. Nat Fyfe ($8) – In the past Fyfe has always been a chance at the Brownlow due to his ability to carry the team on his shoulders, last season we saw the start of the younger brigade starting to step up, I think this trend continues and Fyfe should have a lot more help this year and I won’t be backing him at those odds. Deception, with Freo coaching staff suggesting that Fyfe will play more forward, but then in their hit out with West Coast he played full time mid in 1 half of footy? Always a chance, but I feel another Brownlow isn’t on top of Fyfe’s list and is much more trusting of his teammates taking on a bigger workload. 4. Dustin Martin ($9) – Big time finals player, regular season cruiser and just does what he needs to get the job done. It should be no different in 2021, will still have his big games, but the team play the Tigers show means he doesn’t always have to do everything. Big time finals player, regular season cruiser. Tigers are a well-oiled machine, so I feel Dusty will only go big when needed which most likely won’t be very often. 5. Patrick Dangerfield ($11) – Geelong managed to add some more big names in the off season, Higgins, Cameron and Smith. I think this reduces Dangerfields chances at another medal and he’ll continue to provide a 3 pronged attack in the Cats forward line. If you’re not playing in the midfield when a grand final is on the line, then I don’t see it consistently happening in the regular season. Geelong rotated most of their mids into the forward line from game to game, which worked to get them to the finals so I don’t see them changing that tactic to keep their mids well rested throughout the season. Sounds like his body will be right and playing less time forward? Can we believe a team that constantly changes their line-ups minutes before bounce down and constantly rest their stars? Time will tell. 6. Marcus Bontempelli ($11) – This guy always is in the bookies mix of winners, however never does enough to show it at the end. I always back Macrae as the best Dogs poll getter, but next year I won’t be touching anyone due to the addition of Treloar and retention of Dunkley. The Bont never really tickles my fancy in the Brownlow, but there is always the chance he puts together a full amazing year to win it. 7. Christian Petracca ($13) – Last year’s shorter quarters really benefited Petracca, with the game moving back to 20 minute quarters I think he becomes a little less impactful. He is a goal kicking mid and maybe he will be able to transition to the 20 minute quarters, wait and see for me. I just don’t see it when he’s playing alongside 2 much more deserving medal chances in Gawn and Oliver. 8. Matt Rowell ($21 $17) – Wowee, Rowell in the top 10! After a blistering start in 2020 his season was cruelly interrupted by a shoulder injury, I think it’s fair to say the entire footy community was deeply saddened as he seems like a great kid, and it also let us stomach watching Gold Coast Suns games. With back to back to back best on ground games to be leading early with Neale, I think he’s worth a bet at those odds for 2021, fingers crossed the shoulder injury doesn’t affect the rest of his career. Wouldn’t it be amazing if a 2nd year player won the Brownlow! 9. Travis Boak ($17) – Boak probably had his best season in 2020, I can see him continuing in the same fashion, but he just doesn’t strike me as a medal winner with the other options available. 10. Jack Steele ($21) – Steele gets a lot more help next season with the additions the Saints have added, he had a blinder of a year last year and I think that is his peak. 11. Tom Mitchell ($21) – As Mitchell was paying the same odds as Rowell and Steele I felt it was only fair to include a former winner. We saw glimpses of Mitchell’s best last year, and I wonder if he can get back to that consistently. He doesn’t have to be super impactful, but if he can get back to his accumulating best then $21 is overs for a former winner. Hawks seem to be in the rebuilding phase now, so take that into account. Doesn’t seem to be 100%, but that doesn’t mean he can’t rack the touches up. Best of the rest. Zach Merrett ($26) – Zach is still the best player on the Bombers and can poll, odds are probably right about where they should be, can’t see him winning the medal, but can see his odds shortening a lot for a cashout. Still high on Merrett, I feel he’s going to have a big year.
Clayton Oliver ($41 $26) – This is my dark horse for 2021 Brownlow, he has all the right signals that he could be a Brownlow winner, ball accumulator, #1 mid, and is always at the top of the league in contested possessions. Melbourne just need to win games. Those odds have certainly come in…
Tim Kelly ($34), Andrew Gaff ($41), Luke Shuey ($101), Elliott Yeo ($101), Dom Sheed ($151) - 2021 is probably the Eagles final crack with Josh Kennedy up front, and the close loss in the finals will make them a bit more hungry. Do I think all of those mids are a chance, no, I think you can rule out Shuey and Sheed, but I think Kelly, Gaff and Yeo are great chances to have their odds shortened over the season. Keep an ear out for Yeo as he’s still being hampered by injury. I’m not really sure what to expect this year from West Coast, at this stage I can’t see a standout from this group.
Taylor Adams ($51), Steele Sidebottom ($67) – With Treloar gone, Adams and Sidebottom will have a bit more opportunity to poll, depending on how the Magpies go in season 2021 after a shocking free agency period will decide if they are in the mix. Taylor had a little injury set-back and he has been injury prone for a large part of his career, but should improve with Treloar moving on.
Toby Greene ($81), Josh Kelly ($51) – Love him or hate him, Greene is a game winner, with the loss of Cameron will he play forward more? He can kick goals and when he gets put in the middle he causes chaos moving the ball forward. The issues are GWS got worse in the off season period, and he tends to miss a lot of games. Watch and see for me. I added in Josh Kelly here as he is too much of a ball winner to not include, but he just needs to string together a full season.