The Brownlow Lowdown Preseason Buzz Part 1
Welcome to The Brownlow Lowdown preseason thoughts and musings part 1!
Over the next 2 weeks I’ll be talking through some of my best bets looking at who I think are the main contenders in season 2020 and some value bets from each team. For the purpose of this exercise I’ll be using one agent to keep some uniformity, Play Up (sign up here), but be sure to look around for the best odds available to maximise values as one agent may have the best odds for a player, but a different agent may have the best odds for a different player.
First, let’s look at last year’s top 3.
1. Fyfe with 33 votes from 20 games played
2. Dangerfield with 27 votes from 21 games played
3. Cripps/Neale with 26 votes from 20 games played (Cripps) and 22 games played (Neale)
Healthy seasons from all of those guys in 2019, which can have a big impact on how close they are to winning the Brownlow at the end of the year.
Now let’s take a look at the top 5 players with the bookies.
1. Nathan Fyfe @ $6 – It’s no surprise the bookies have him at the #1 spot and I agree with them. We could end the blog here (but we won’t) if we could be guaranteed that Fyfe plays a full season, because he has all the variables in place to win back to back medals. The outright leader in Fremantle’s midfield brigade, a contested possession beast, a mainly young group around him, and minimal stars to take votes off him with the exception of Walters. $6 is still great value and will float around this number in the early rounds so you don’t need to necessarily get on him now, but prepare to pounce if he comes out in the first few rounds on fire. The only cons with Fyfe are his injury history, and his history of suspension. He has also shown last year that he can win the medal in a side that was not overly competitive which is usually a downfall for players in the running for this award. He’s my early pick to win back to back medals.
2. Patrick Cripps @ $6– At equal favourite, Cripps has carried the Blues and has shown to be a proven vote getter finishing in the top 5 for the past 2 seasons. Like Fyfe he polls well in a lowly ranked side. We should see some improvement in the Carlton side in 2020 with the younger players adding another year onto their resumes and this should add to the ability of Cripps to gather votes throughout the season. Again, no real vote stealers at the Blues unless someone has a breakout year, Cripps will still rack up the contested possessions along with the votes and is always a chance.
3. Dustin Martin @ $7– My initial thought is that the odds are just too short for Dusty, however the Tigers play 9 games at the MCG before their bye in round 13, and only leave Melbourne twice in that same time frame! Insane scheduling for the champs! With those factors alone I can see Dusty being an early season bolter in the Brownlow so he is one player you might want to place a bet on before the season starts and possibly watch his odds get shorter on a weekly basis!
4. Patrick Dangerfield @ $8– Dangerfield is always in the mix when it comes to the Brownlow medal, whether he’s bursting out of the pack in the midfield or kicking bags of goals in the forward line, his ability to stand out in games under the watchful eyes of the umpires is a massive asset for his polling potential. Dangerfield finished 2ndto Fyfe in 2019 and the main reason for that was Tim Kelly’s. The 2ndyear mature age player made a huge impact in 2019 and finished in 5thplace himself, only 2 votes behind Dangerfield. With Kelly gone, Dangerfield is primed to be the dominant mid in a Cats team thirsty for a premiership. Unlike Fyfe and Cripps, Dangerfield has an older group around him, with Selwood and Ablett adding another year to their bodies, and moving into the forward line more often.
5. Tom Mitchell @ $8– Mitchell won the Brownlow in 2018 and unfortunately missed all of 2019 with a broken leg, from the highest of highs in AFL glory to the lowest of lows. We don’t really know what to expect early in the season with Mitchell coming back from such a devastating injury. On the one hand most players coming back from injury take some time to get back to their best, and on the other hand Mitchell is such ball magnet it’s hard to imagine him not feasting on the leather in the middle. One to watch at this stage, even if he does come out of the blocks firing.
The best of the rest, next week in part 2 I’ll go through each side and put forward who I think has a chance for your club at winning the medal or leading the team votes excluding Fremantle, Carlton, Geelong, Richmond and Hawthorn as those 5 teams have essentially been done here in part 1.